Review: X-O Manowar #22

Following Harada’s betrayal, Livewire knows Aric’s true heroic nature and returns the armor to him. At this point I realized two amazing characteristics about this book.  First, the main antagonists of the comic (The Vine) have not appeared for several issue, yet the comic is still as interesting and engrossing as ever before.

Second, the comic raises some amazing philosophical statements.  For instance, Aric speaks with Colonel Capshaw and explains how he would handle his enemies in the past.  When he threatens her with decapitation and putting her head on a spike, X-O relents.  “This is not my time.  This is your time.  I do not know what makes a hero now.  I only know I must learn another way.”  The inclusion of lines like these show that the book is as engaging in the down time as it is in the frenetic action moments.

Robert Venditti must be commended for creating such scenes that allow readers to contemplate the nature of heroism while also supplying precisely constructed action sequences that offer equal thrills.  Plus, Venditti has made Aric a multi-dimensional with whom readers will associate because Aric, by nature, is the flawed outsider trying to find his way.

XO_022_VARIANT_CONRAD.1Colonel Capshaw arranges for the displaced Visigoths to settle in Nebraska.  For a moment, Aric regains peace.  But there’s a price for that peace, and Aric must pay for it with his service to the United States military.

His first mission sees X-O scuttling the alien ship he used as a trap in the “Unity” crossover.  He must do so in order to avoid the Russians attaining the tech onboard.  The question is, “Did he get there in time?”

For an issue that deals with peace, there is so much to savor in X-O #22.  For instance, the chess pieces are visibly placed to see how the next chapter of this story will unfold.  We also understand that Aric has so much to lose: namely, his love and respite, Saana.

In terms of the art, Cary Nord delivers a great panel where Capshaw commends Aric for completing a mission as though she addressed a subordinate.  Being the leader of an army himself, Aric’s grimace foreshadows the time when he will refuse the orders and not play lapdog to the commands.  So much has been conveyed from a single stare from one panel of the comic.  That’s great illustration.

X-O Manowar, a perfect synthesis of great art and well-constructed storytelling, consistently proves itself unparalleled among action comics.

Score: 5/5

Writer: Robert Venditti Artist: Cary Nord Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 2/26/14