Review: X-O Manowar #42

As fantastic as X-O Manowar is every month, I was going to start taking a break from reviewing this series so consistently. Meaning I was planning on reading and not reviewing this issue. But here we are. So what does that tell you about this issue? It should tell you that it was so fucking good that I made extra time to write a review for it during an otherwise already packed week of reviews. I feel like a broken record sometimes when it comes to Valiant books because of the series I’ve managed to follow and keep up with, they really do get better and better each issue. It makes me feel like a hype man telling you all, “this issue is better than the last” each time, but damnit its true.

In my last review I talked about the intensity. About how political the stress was and that it was almost draining to read. It was great, but it was an issue that you really need to shake off as shit hit the fan. In this issue the shit is hitting the fan. What will Aric do is the question? Which side does he fight for? The people that gave him a home on earth or the people who he freed and bonded with after his slavery?

XO #42The answer is shocking, but it produced one of the best scenes in Robert Venditti’s entire run of X-O Manowar. I wish I could tell you the scene, but if you read it, you’ll know. Maybe in the comments we can have a spoiler discussion because I really do want to talk about it. I just want you all to read it first.

Venditti continues to write masterfully on this series. I don’t know why any comic reader that enjoys superhero titles isn’t reading X-O Manowar, but Venditti is crafting the definitive version of this character. His run on the series is reminds me of Geoff John’s run on Green Lantern or Brian Michael Bendis’ run on Ultimate Spider-man. It’s a run that will leave a huge mark on the character for years to come and if and when he decides to leave, he will leave big shoes to fill.

I can’t even remember how many artists have worked on X-O Manowar. Due to the rotating nature of the artists, which keeps the book flowing monthly so I’m not complaining, I tend to only focus on the current artist. Rafa Sandoval has been a delight on this arc. He’s brought a wonderful balance to the story which has been important since it’s very much a “sides divided” plot line. He captures the rage and intensity of both the Humans and the Vine showing their worst qualities and capturing the fear both sides have. The earth fears aliens while the Vine fear extinction. Sandoval captures that beautifully with his art.

This arc has been a rollercoaster. Things have popped off, but been reigned back. It’s very much like the real world in that sense. Venditti and company capture that perfectly making for an intense and enjoyable superhero comic unlike any other out there. If you’re not reading X-O Manowar, find something to skip this week so you can give this book a chance. You might just find yourself dropping those safe and boring reads in favor of something with some teeth.

Score: 5/5

X-O Manowar #42 Writer: Robert Venditti Artist: Rafa Sandoval Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/25/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital