Valiant Comics started promoting their summer crossover “Armor Hunters” a few months back, and the anticipation continues in this second half of the event prelude. When we last left Aric, a mysterious figure wearing a ravaged armor similar to Shanhara appeared to assault the Visigoth. With high hopes for this continuing series, let’s blast off for X-O Manowar #24!
Aric’s battle with Malgam concludes, but not before some shocking events surrounding the Manowar Armor. After returning to Earth, Aric once again faces the merciless directives of Colonel Capshaw, before returning to the Visigoths’ new homeland in Nebraska for a few moments of peace. Of course, this calm will not last, as forces across the galaxy mass to begin hunting our titular hero.
X-O Manowar #24 builds further towards the narrative of “Armor Hunters” as series writer Robert Venditti maintains a cohesive and intriguing chronicle. Aric’s characterization is the high point of this issue, showing further development of a man who once charged blindly into combat. Here, we’re treated a more mature man, who has taken his responsibility as a protector deep into his routine. The story beats further reflect this Aric’s new found maturity, which is put to the test as Colonel Capshaw, one of my favorite characters, continues to give him grief. The comic ends with a scene that builds great anticipation for what comes next.
Artistically, X-O Manowar #24 doesn’t miss a beat. Diego Bernard finishes his short stint as artist for the title, which is a blessing because we are treated to beautiful interiors, but is a shame because I’m not sure when we’ll next see his pencils in a Valiant title. Bernard’s sci-fi character designs and technologies are, arguably, the best we’ve seen so far in the series. Malgam comes off as a truly monstrous fusion of flesh and armor, perhaps a portent of the horror to face Aric in the future. Speaking of portents, the appearance of some new enemies at the end was very welcome, and these five figures looked amazing with Bernard’s work.
Of course, I’d be remiss to discount the rest of the art team who held Bernard’s work together and elevated it to greater heights of skill. Inker Alison Rodriguez ties the art together with a smooth subtlety that enhances every aspect of the art, while colorist Brian Reber, by far my favorite colorist in comics, continues his streak of beautiful palettes, each gorgeously suited to specific scenes. Dave Sharpe, X-O Manowar #24’s letterer, brings everything together with key panel and speech bubble placement, and even selects a few special font for our surprise guests near the issue’s end.
X-O Manowar #24 is a great read that cannot be missed by any sci-fi fan. With astounding art and writing, this issue reiterates why the series receives so much critical acclaim. The only downside of this issue is that it makes a poor place for new readers to join the story, but I still encourage those with interest to go back and grab X-O Manowar #23 to climb on board the X-O Manowar train. Month after month, I count down the days until this title arrives and, time and again, it impresses me. I offer only the highest recommendation for X-O Manowar #24.
-great writing, especially the characterizations of Aric and Colonel Capshaw
-beautiful art, including some of the best interiors so far this year
-exciting set-up for “Armor Hunters”
-poor jumping-on point (join with issue #23)
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. He wants to scold Saana about wasting water.
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