For fans who are familiar with the X-O Manowar mythos, the events of this issue are not unexpected. For people who are new to X-O, there is a fantastic twist which turns the series on its head. Regardless of if you are new to X-O or familiar with all that has come before, the third issue of the series is fantastic.
As seen in the previous issue, Aric and his men have not only managed to break out of their cells, but now Aric wields the mighty Shanhara, a mysterious suit of armor. To reveal all that happens from that point on is to ruin the fun of the issue. Suffice it to say that lots happens and not a lot is explained. Hopefully there will be some explanation as the series progresses, but for now the reader is just as amazed as Aric.
The story by Robert Venditti is fast. Really fast. There is no time for explanation. No time for thought. Just time for action!!! I have enough faith in Venditti from his days writing The Surrogates that there will be not only an explanation, but a good one as well. So, for now i am willing to sit back and enjoy!
Cary Nord’s art continues to impress. The graininess and grittiness of his figures contrasts so well with the smoothness and shininess of the X-O armor. In addition, his facial expressions sell the action on the page. Even though Aric is glad to have a weapon as powerful as Shanhara, it is clear that he is not comfortable with it. His face reveals exuberance, fear, anger, and surprise all within a few pages. He even manages to give believable expressions to the Vine/Spider creatures who have kept Aric and his men prisoners for so long.
What is most impressive about this book is how accessible it is. Even though it drops the reader in to the middle of the story, there is still enough information for someone picking up the book for the first time to enjoy it and move forward with the story (waiting to pick up reprints of the first two issues, or getting the eventual trade). In a world where the first issue of a series appears to be the only jumping on point, it is nice to see that Venditti and Nord are able to create a book which is fun and accessible for everyone!
Even if you have not yet picked up the previous two issues, head out and pick up X-O Manowar #3 on sale today!