Silverwolf’s Den: X-O Manowar #18

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The Valiant Universe is gearing up for Unity, the next new title from Valiant Entertainment. X-O Manowar will stand at the center of the Unity story, as Aric of Dacia attempts to defend his reconquered homeland from Toyo Harada, his team, and the current nation’s inhabitants. X-O Manowar #18 lays the final groundwork before this next stage, leading into an event that promises to reshape the world.

Aric of Dacia has finally achieved his birthright and become King of the Visigoth survivors rescued from the Vine. The catch? He’s established a kingdom in modern day Romania and governments worldwide are less than thrilled with such a state of affairs. Russian special forces prepare to oust the Visigoths, causing Aric and his rival for leadership, Volo, to take different positions in the battle to defend their people. Everything falls into place and it seems a massive, unavoidable conflict is on the horizon, one which Aric may not be able to win.

X-O Manowar continues to impress me each month, and #18 is no exception. Robert Venditti continues to deepen the narrative surrounding Aric, his comrades, and their enemies. I’m especially fond of the character of Volo, who stands in opposition to Aric’s self-declared title of King of the Visigoths. I feel Volo’s sure to play an important role in the coming battles, and I’m eagerly anticipating what course of action he’ll take. The dialogue remains fluid and creative, as is Venditti’s standard. My only wish is that some of the conversations were lengthened to provide more character development.

Aric in the Manowar armor charging through a nuclear missile. Your move, Tony Stark.

Aric in the Manowar armor charging through a nuclear missile. Your move, Tony Stark.

X-O Manowar’s art is consistently great. Sadly, this may be Lee Garbett’s final issue for some time (maybe forever?) since it was announced at New York Comic Con that he’ll be drawing Loki: Agent of Asgard for Marvel. Regardless, Garbett gave it his all in this issue. The battle scenes are powerful, reminiscent of the high superhero action of the Golden Age but with a distinctly modern flavor. The characters’ faces do look strange at times, but this hardly detracts from the mostly great artwork. Colorist Moose Baumann’s work is solid, though the palette is a bit dry in some scenes and slightly mars the image as a result; overall, however, Baumann’s skill provides greater enhancement than detriment to Garbett’s pencilling. Furthermore, superstar artist Clayton Crain (one of Judge’s favorites for his work on previous Carnage series) provided this issue’s beautiful cover.

Valiant’s succeeded in building an amazingly robust universe in less than two years. X-O Manowar #18 clearly sets the stage for Unity which will create major ripples through the entire line. Anyone who’s interested in Valiant should jump in with Unity as it promises to shake up the comic book world, and perhaps the medium as a whole. This issue wrapped up a great arc, and I’m more excited for the next piece of Aric’s story.

Pros:

-amazing end to an arc and set up for Unity

-great art, especially Crain’s cover

-exceptional characterization of Volo

Cons:

-faces looks odd in some panels

-coloring mars the linework in some panels

Rating: 4.5/5

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Brett Simon is a twenty-three year old comic enthusiast. He thinks Alexander Dorian deserves his own mini-series.

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Silverwolf

Moar Powah's very own Clark Kent.

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  1. Pingback: Unity #1 Review | Moar Powah!

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