Tuesday, July 9, 2013

1st Impressions: X-O MANOWAR # 15 Review

Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Lee Garbett, Stefano Gaudiano & Moose Baumann
Valiant Comics


                We open to Aric on Earth in a museum, thinking about how much as changed as he looks at a crown.  We flashback to space where Aric readies the former Vine human slaves for returning to Earth. And, in Aric’s grand “wisdom”, he lands in Europe … Romania as a matter of fact and claims it to be the new home of the Visgoths.
                This only leads to trouble 2 other things happen this issue: 1 – the United States track the spaceship’s landing. And 2 – Eternal Warrior shows up at the museum in front of Aric. We find that Aric was Gilad’s former student back those many, many centuries ago. Gilad though confronts Aric, asking politely to stop what he’s doing. And … it does not end very well.


                Lee Garbett’s art has stepped up a notch since we last saw him. His pencils are a bit sharper and a little more detail (almost Coipiel-sque in some places) and it is a very welcomed change. The added detail is only amplified by Gaudiano’s inks. The duo gives an impressive showing in this issue with detailed people, crazy backgrounds that are diverse and full of life and a great amount of panel composition and emotion.

                Everyone looks very distinct. The very time-shocked slaves still have garb of their past and it really stands out against the many things, such as the space ship and the modern day people of Romania. Garbett and Gaudiano’s work is only intensified more with a great showing from Baumann with his colors. The very large differences between the space ship, outer space, the secret bunker in the US, Romania and the museum have very distinct colors that match the panels and emotions of the scene.  It really captures the feeling and moods of the moments in the book. From fear to anger, this art team conveys it well from the first panel to the last this issue.


                Venditti writes a strong first issue in this new arc. There was a lot of character development from our hero as well as Gilad.  The fear from the former Vine Slaves to return home was assuaged by Aric … who gives an extremely impressive speech to them. It really shows how Aric has grown as a leader in some ways. Yet, by far the driving force and my particular favorite part of this issue was when Aric did meet up with Gilad. Venditti sets up familiarity with the two right away that gives off that there is a respect between the two men that runs deep. Which Venditti has no problem deconstructing after building it up within the same conversation. Venditti sets up that Aric still has some very major flaws and readers will actually be divided on which of the two Valiant heroes to side with at the end of this issue.

                Venditti sets up a multi-layered conflict that will have both personal and professional ramifications for both Aric & Gilad. The added bonus of the United States monitoring the situation as well as the slave’s fear of the present day Earth opens so many possibilities for this story. Venditti proves that while Aric has grown since the first issue, he still has some ways to go. And Gilad proves that he has also learned more from his last appearance in Archer & Armstrong, going in diplomatically at first.  Really great job by Venditti.


                The art was great. The pacing was excellent. Our hero can be seen in so many different ways right now and Venditti plays with that so well. Honestly, Garbett should get a raise alongside Gaudiano and Baumann because the art this issue was sinfully good.


                This was even better than last issue. Honestly, a near perfect opening to a new arc and I am excited. I give X-O Manowar # 15 a 9.5 … out of 10. Pick it up tomorrow.

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