In the aftermath of a horrible tragedy sprung upon him from a series of small yet cataclysmic decisions, Aric of Dacia is caught between the two worlds he’s sworn to protect. As X-O Manowar, Aric has made it his mission to protect the Vine’s mass of alien refugees as they seek asylum on Earth, even though his people want them dead. As he finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place, a new threat looms on the horizon, which could endanger the entire planet.
The Valiant Universe has continue to impress me, lately, and this issue is no exception to that. X-O Manowar #40 continues the arc started in the previous issue, Exodus, where we find the eponyous hero trying to forge a peace between the Vine, and, well, everybody else. Although it’s still too early to judge whether the line wide reverberations that will be felt from Exodus will be as hard hitting as Valiant are teasing, thus far the story arc is shaping up very nicely.
Written by Robert Venditti with art by Rafa Sandoval, the second chapter in this arc continues the pace set by the previous issue, and that’s no bad thing.
The art work is of the high quality that I’ve come to associate with comics published by Valiant, and there are some stunning large panel shots in this issue, not to mention some fantastic shots of X-O Manowar in action; Rafa Sandoval captures the inherent power within the suit, and the noble yet deadly nature of the man wearing it very well. Over the past few issues, I’ve really come to enjoy the war in which Aric speaks; Robert Venditti has given him a somewhat unique way of speaking that effectively conveys a man out of time without falling into the faux Shakespearian patterns that certain other characters from history and/or mythology are wont to do.
As far as the story itself goes, I can’t say that I was genuinely surprised by how well the story carried on, because that would be a bit of a lie; what I will say, however is that X-O Manowar #40 met my already high expectations for the issue, which is something I’m excited about. I’m not going to say much more about the story as I’m afraid of giving too much away for those who are yet to read it, but I’m really enjoying the arc so far, and I can’t wait to see where it ends up.
Writer: Robert Venditti Artist: Rafa Sandoval
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5
Valiant provided a FREE copy for review.
Also published on Graphic Policy.