Tuesday, August 20, 2013

1st Impression: X-O MANOWAR # 16 Review

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


                We open our issue with more on Gilad’s relationship with Aric. Gilad was once Aric’s teacher, many, many years ago.  In the past, Aric was using brute force to win his battles. Gilad taught him stay alert, be aware of your surroundings and that every battle is different. Cut to the present day after Eternal Warrior schools our ‘hero’ a little … in front of his uncle’s crown.

                Gilad is about to lecture our boy again but Aric has had enough. Gilad looks to have the upper hand when Aric decides to use the X-O Manowar armor. And things REALLY get interesting. Eternal Warrior and X-O Manowar have a brutal battle where it ends with someone’s arm being literally broken to the point where we see bone.

                Meanwhile, the US government continues to monitor with a drone when they get a call … from a very familiar Valiant Hero. Here’s a hint … It’s not Armstrong.

                This art this issue was, overall, good.  Garbett does a solid job with some pretty intense pencils that give us some good movement as well as sharp inks from Gaudiano. Garbett’s style also looks a little different here.  And after looking at it a second time, I realize why. This issue, Garbett and Gaudiano seemed to find some middle ground style to Garbett’s normal style and Nord’s style. It may be due to the inks but there is definitely a similarity of texture this issue that was not there in last issue.
                Yet, I give Garbett points for a sincere great showing as we got to see a clash of the titans as Aric faced off against Gilad again. The battle was brutal and Garbett and Gaudiano definitely displayed it as such.  Baumann did a solid job with colors … even making sure things are darker within the museum; giving much of the issue that extra air of ominous doom to come. A good job by a good art team.

                Venditti writes an extremely solid issue. We really get into Aric’s temper, his relationship with Gilad and begin the set up for UNITY; which will debut this fall. Aric firmly believes that what he’s doing for the descendants of his people and himself is right; claiming the lands of Romania as Dacia.  Aric is so full in his conviction that he battles his mentor. It is only later that he questions himself; which gives way to profound character development for him.
                This was also wonderful development to Gilad, whose own book starts next month. Venditti  makes sure the story stays personal and ups the ante in a very gruesome but relatable way. Aric was not about to back down and wanted to prove that he is , indeed, a King. Whether he actual does is a different question.  With great pacing, personal pride added to the stakes and some very human conversations that are relatable, Venditti pens a masterful issue.

                The art was good and in some places, great. But that is my only real gripe.  Still, solid job by the art team and stellar writing from Venditti. Dear God when that arm got broken … Sheesh.

                Good art. Great writing. Solid issue. I give X-O Manowar # 16 an 8 out of 10.


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