By Patrick Wolf
X-O Manowar is a very difficult comic to review. The problem is there’s almost nothing wrong with it. Every time I read the latest installment, I just want to say: “It’s awesome. Read it. Leave me alone.” This time, though, the story isn’t perfect, so I’ll have a little more to say.
Last issue, Aric and his crew successfully captured the Cadmium Capitol only to discover the president has already escaped. Now the team must delve deep into the heart of Burnt territory to arrest the elusive Cadmium leader before he’s able to regroup. But the Burnt people won’t just allow a foreign army to march onto their lands, and the Azure have a contingency plan that may just spell the end for Aric and his squad.
As usual, X-O Manowar is phenomenal and continues to be the standard of this year’s action/adventure genre: the characters are compelling, the lore is mysterious, and the action just keeps coming. Matt Kindt is on a roll like I’ve never seen before, and his art team is top notch. This series is like a runaway train that just keeps bulldozing forward. It’s a ride definitely worth taking.
If I had any criticism, it would be that the plot seems to be running a bit out of steam. Aric and his soldiers are still trying to catch the president, and—as usual—they just keep coming short. I hope the Cadmium president doesn’t end up becoming another recurring archetype, like TMNT’s ‘Shredder’, where in every book he almost gets caught, but just barely escapes (yawn).
Related to this trouble is another duplicated plot device that’s kind of getting old. For the past three issues, a jealous Azurian Captain has been trying to kill Aric. Last issue, the General killed the Captain and promoted Aric, thereby ending the ‘jealous Captain subplot’. But, low-and-behold, this issue the same thing is happening again—this time with the General being the jealous betrayer. Not only does this not make any sense to me, but also it feels uncreative since it’s literally just happened.
These problems aside, X-O Manowar is still an excellent series and definitely worth your time. If you haven’t already started reading this franchise, start now. There’s not much more I can say. X-O Manowar is in a class of its own.
X-O Manowar # 4
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Doug Braithwaite
Colorist: Diego Rodriguez
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: Valiant Comic