X-O Manowar #23 (Comics Review)

Valiant’s Unity has been one of the most fun titles I’ve read to date. Its the only series from the publisher that I’m following at the moment, and its been quite a good read. Reading it though, I’ve gotten really interested in the characters themselves, characters like Aric and Gilad who headline their own series, X-O Manowar and Eternal Warrior respectively. With the recent news that the former series is beginning a new arc with its latest issue, I decided that it was a good time to jump on the title, because Aric is a character I’m really curious about.

Valiant has put Aric through a ton of stuff to date. He was abducted by aliens and made a slave. He stole their most precious artifact and returned to Earth only to find out that hundreds of years had passed. Now he is a man out of a time, fighting against everybody because everybody is scared of what he can do. With the first major arc of Unity now done, it is time for Aric to adjust to a new status quo and he also has to deal with some new threats. The new issue of his series has a good story setup going and the art is certainly very good too.

X-O Manowar 23Robert Venditti isn’t exactly my favourite writer. His run on Green Lantern started off interestingly enough when he took over the series from Geoff Johns, but then it just devolved into a boring, unclear story and I ended up giving up on that title after sticking through that series all through Geoff’s run. His Villain’s Month titles didn’t impress me either. And that was all a part of the reason why I didn’t pick up X-O Manowar earlier, because I was unsure as to the writing of the series.

However, with X-O Manowar #23 he has kind of redeemed my expectations. The issue has a very good story setup and it features the Aric that I know through Unity. That was key for me. I didn’t want to read any characterisation that was at odds with what I had already seen, and on that note Robert Venditti certainly did not disappoint. I mean, I liked the story he wrote. It is simple and straightforward, and it hints at more than it actually lets on. That’s the best kind really.

Reading Aric in his own series also allowed me to see a very different side of the character, something that didn’t shine through in Unity because there he was just a supremely aggressive and easily ticked-off individual. And he was made out as the bad guy, when in reality, he really isn’t all that bad you see. He is trying to protect his people the best way that he can, and it just so happens that he runs up against everybody else in the world for it. In many ways, he is the underdog here, despite being one of the most powerful individuals in the world.

Even in this issue, we see how he is the underdog because despite all his power, he still has a leash around him now, a leash that he can’t get out of without risking the future and the safety of his people. And everything that he does, he does for them. Once, he was a slave for the Vine, now he is a slave for his people. But choices matter.

The bad-guy we see here, he gave me the creeps certainly. He wasn’t someone that I expected to see, but its great that Venditti is starting off him with him. And all that this issue really made me want to do is go back and read everything that has happened in the previous 22 issues. Now that’s the kind of the story I wanted here.

On the art, we have Diego Bernard doing the pencils, Alejandro Sicat doing the inks, Brian Reber doing the colours, and Dave Sharpe doing the letters. Together, they are a potent team, and the art overall is quite good. There were a few moments here and there where either the panel viewpoint seemed weird, or the characters had expressions that didn’t really connect, but still, the art was pretty solid. Good pencils, good inks, and good colours. Can’t ask for more than that.

This was certainly an interesting issue, and I think that I’m going to stick with the series for the short term. See how it all develops and then go from there.

Rating: 8/10

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Posted on March 22, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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