by Robert Venditti, Diego Bernard

It’s the last day of 2014 and it’s only fitting that we should get a terrific issue of Valiant’s flagship series to take us out with a bang. Here’s our review of X-O Manowar #31.

The story

Phillip Zahn, whom we met in the last issue of this series, has been assigned to perform an inspection of Aric’s armor at a secret facility for the United Nations. He brings along his Armorines to perform the inspection, as unbeknownst to Aric, Capshaw, or anything but himself, he plans to incapacitate the X-O armor in order to turn the inspection into an opportunity to sell more units of his Armorines. The method he chooses is rather simple but very clever, and really shows how devious the character is.

Throughtout this series, Robert Venditti has pitted Aric against all sorts of powerful enemies with similar power levels and tactics as Aric’s own. There have been aliens, heavily armored battle suits, and skilled warriors, but few seem as fit to take on the power of Aric and Shanhara as Zahn himself. He is a devious tactician whose sole purpose is to continue to grow his company for decades to come. Think of a slightly crazed and evil Tony Stark, and you may come close to Zahn’s personality.

The writing is as strong as always, with some great characterization for the new set of characters, and dialogue that flows so well that it made this issue a breeze to read through, and left me wanting so much more. X-O Manowar #31 is not an action heavy issue, but there is plenty of double-crossing to give those “hell yeah” moments which have made this series such a joy to read since the first issue. Venditti continues to expand the mythos of this book in new and exciting ways that keep me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next issue.

The art

Diego Bernard continues his work on the series with some beautiful and very detail panels. In fact, I’d be willing to say that while his art remains consistently solid on the series, this is one of his most polished issues to date. The character designs for the Armorines are unique, but similar enough that they are obviously meant to be identified as a unit, and the facial expressions throughout this issue are detailed and highly emotive. When Aric is incapacitated by the Armorines, there is no doubt the amount of pain he is feeling and that’s clearly conveyed through Bernards art.


Venditti and Bernard continue to steer this book into new and exciting directions, and the current arc is shaping up to be another game changer for the series. With an intriguing story and terrific art, X-O Manowar #31 is a great issue that will not disappoint – a definite buy.

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