Valiant is gearing up for the next phase of universe expansion: Unity. Nowhere is this effort felt more than in X-O Manowar, starring the titular character who will be the main antagonist (or protagonist, depending on your viewpoint) for the upcoming crossover. How did the latest issue of Valiant’s flagship series measure up?
After sixteen centuries, Aric of Dacia has finally returned to the Visigoth’s ancestral homeland in modern day Romania. While the governments of the world aren’t too thrilled with this course of action, the prisoners Aric freed from the Vine homeworld of Loam are ecstatic and joyfully praise the victory of their new king. While Aric surveys his victory and remembers the tales his father told of this land during his youth, discontent stirs within the Visigoth camp. Meanwhile, an old friend comes calling with a proposition he hopes Aric won’t refuse.
X-O Manowar’s plot feels seamless month to month thanks to the great work of Robert Venditti. Each new arc builds on the last, while still examining Aric’s characterization. I love the fact that Venditti shows us scenes from Aric’s past, connecting them to key moments from the present. Everything here falls perfectly into place, and no panel or piece of dialogue feels wasted. The interaction between Aric and his subjects in great, and I’m glad we got to see more of Saana, though I’d like to get to know more about her. It was also great to learn more about Aric’s parents; his mother and father are interesting characters that I hope we’ll see more of in Aric’s future flashbacks.
The art of X-O Manowar #17 is great, thanks to the great work of Lee Garbett (who illustrated Volume 2 of the series), Moose Baumann, and Dave Sharpe. I want to first give particular accolades to Sharpe: letterers are often forgotten, but his work in this issue stands are as particularly grand, punctuating the sound effects and speech patterns in an especially cool way. The character designs are great, especially for Aric’s parents. Though this issue has no true action sequences, that didn’t bother me whatsoever; the art team proved they can do more than just draw battles, especially as they displayed the beautiful landscapes of Aric’s childhood daydreams. My only complaint is that the characters looked a little wonky in some of the far-range shots, but that’s a general trend among most artists and is difficult to avoid.
X-O Manowar #17 is, arguably, my favorite issue of the series so far. The story flows excellently, the artwork is great, and I really felt drawn into the narrative page after page. With Unity on the horizon, I feared these next few issues of the series would basically be filler, but Venditti and company proved me wrong as they add in key pieces towards Aric’s epic. I strongly encourage you to give this series a shot; this issue is actually a fairly easy jumping on point. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes action, great character development, and an angry fifth century barbarian wielding a suit of wildly tricked out armor.
-great continuation of the central story line
-excellent character development
-fairly good jumping-on point for the series
-some of the scenes set at a far distance look odd
-we have to wait a month for the next issue
Brett Simon is a twenty-three year old comic enthusiast. He’ll be on the lookout for Visigoths the next time he’s at the supermarket.
Latest posts by Silverwolf (see all)
- Silverwolf’s Den: Shaft: A Complicated Man - December 1, 2016
- Silverwolf’s Den: Uncanny X-Men Superior Vol. 1: Survival of the Fittest - November 25, 2016
- Silverwolf’s Den: Deadman Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #1 - October 31, 2016
- Young Animal Reading List – October - October 29, 2016
- Silverwolf’s Den: Fear Agent Part 1 - September 18, 2016