X-O Manowar’s 20th issue hit stands yesterday, heralding the next phase of the crossover with Valiant’s latest new title, Unity. When we last left Aric’s solo title, the famed Manowar had reasserted his kingship over the freed Visigoths. In the pages of Unity, however, Aric weathered an assault and was ultimately separated from his armor. With that interesting concept in mind, let’s dive into X-O Manowar #20!
Alone against the combined force of Harada, Ninjak, the Eternal Warrior, and Livewire sporting the recently commandeered Armor of Shanhara, Aric’s got a tough road ahead. This Visigoth’s been backed into tight spots before, however, and he’s still got a number of great tricks to pull out against Unity. Who will prevail as their spacecraft plummets into the briny depths?
Robert Venditti succeeds each month in writing interesting believable dialogue for a man wildly out of time, and X-O Manowar #20 is no exception. There’s some great banter between the characters, but Aric himself holds the spotlight, as well he should. I also like that Venditti called back to an earlier idea about the link between Aric and the Manowar armor, which I won’t spoil for those who haven’t yet read the title. This acknowledged connection further strengthens the mythology, and makes the ensuing combat more interesting.
Artists Cary Nord and Vicente Cifuentes combine on the major art duties for this installment. The two are quite experienced drawing Aric and company, and this issue is another fine example of their work. This issue has, arguably, the best linework in any issue of X-O Manowar thus far. The fight scenes are wildly fun and enjoyable, with some great tactical combat from both sides rather than the repetitive punching matches we see too often in action titles. The way these two craft the alien technology of the series is great as well; I love seeing the crazy mechanical designs in the background as the characters engage one another.
X-O Manowar #20 is a great comic, though I still felt this issue left me wanting more. While this was an enjoyable read, I still feel like there was a bit too much action and not enough advancement of the central plot, especially compared to previous issues. I especially wish we could have seen a bit more of Volo, as his take on the attackers could present an interesting perspective. Still, I’m all-in on this title, and feel eager to see the next installment in Unity #3.
For fans of X-O Manowar or Unity, this issue is a must-have. It continues the awesome action of previous stories, and continues to develop the role of Aric of Dacia as one of the toughest men in the Valiant Universe. There’s some fun stuff brewing here and, while not the strongest issue in the series, it’s still a great read.
-exceptional art, the best in the series so far
-powerful, exciting action scenes
-issue feels like it doesn’t advance the overall plot too much
-while the action is enjoyable, there feels like a little too much of it
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. He loved when Ninjak threw a shuriken into Harada’s virtual helper.
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