Indie Comic Review: X-O Manowar #4

X-O Manowar continues to be one of the best books on the shelves!  Four months in to the “Summer of Valiant, and its flagship title shows no signs of slowing down.  Instead, each issue takes what came before and builds on it creating a feeling that each issue “matters” while still managing to be accessible to new readers.  Well done!

With the enormous power of the X-O Manowar armor at his command, Aric has returned to Earth hell bent on destroying the Roman Empire. But the Rome he encounters is as alien to him as the Vine colony ship he escaped from – because 1,600 years have transpired in his absence. Without fully understanding the consequences of his actions, will Aric’s first act in the modern day ignite a new world war? Meanwhile, the secret history of the Vine’s presence on Earth is finally revealed. Who is corporate mogul Alexander Dorian? Will he be Aric’s one ally in this strange new world – or his very first enemy?

The issue opens with a tidy recap page which gives a new reader everything they could possibly need to know in order to enjoy this book.  It is a testament to how focused the plot of the book is that it can be relayed so clearly and concisely.

What follows is a an issue that has very little directly to do with Aric and the X-O armor.  Sure there is the dramatic fight scene which has been previewed before.   But the issue is really about the Vine (the aliens who possessed the armor before Aric) and the lengths to which they will go to retrieve it.  By spending this much time on them, it gives the reader a sense that Aric will never truly be safe.  He will always have to worry about the Vine coming back for their sacred treasure.  Robert Venditi knows how to ratchet up the tension!

The art by Carey Nord is top notch.  When the armor displays a new trick during the fight scene, the art clearly reveals what happens without the need for any kind of excessive narration or explanation.  Hopefully the new artist, Lee Garbett, maintains the same high quality which Nord has displayed so far.

As much as Valiant has been hyping the return of Ninjak for issue 5, it would be easy to let this issue fall through the cracks.  However, the attention to story detail and the ratcheting up of the tension in the background should propel X-O far in to the future.  Be sure not to miss this one!

X-O Manowar #4 is available today!

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