It is no secret that X-O Manowar is one of my favorite series from any publisher, due in large part to the amazing writing talent of Robert Venditti. While Aric is completely absent from this issue, we get a story that really delivers. Note that there may be spoilers ahead.
This issue takes place at an undetermined time in the past and gives readers some great insight into the Armor Hunter Reebo, better know as Primary, and Malgam before the events of the current Armor Hunters event. Reebo and Malgam are old military buddies trying to make their way through the universe as bounty hunters when they stumbled upon a man whose world has been devastated by an X-O armor. As their pair join the man on his home world, they encounter the armor and a battle ensues. The two escape, and as they retell their story at a bar to onlookers, they are approached by a decorated general looking to recruit them into the Armor Hunter corps.
The pacing throughout this issue is great. While I was a little disappointed not to see my favorite Visigoth yet again – he was also missing from Unity this month – it is great to have a look at Reebo and Malgam’s past. Venditti definitely has a great handle on who he wants these characters to be and the personalities we see in this story are far from what we’ve seen in previously, showing just how much their experiences on the field have shaped who Reebo and Malgam are. I can’t wait to see more of the recruitment process on the next issue and seeing these characters develop even further.
Diego Bernard – wow! This issue has everything we have come to expect from this series in terms of top notch art – great closeups, fluid action sequences, and cool looking aliens. The scenes at the bar are some of my favorites and remind me of the cantina scenes from the Star Wars films.
Some key scenes look like they may have been more rushed than others – some of the fight panels on the alien world come to mind – but overall the art is solid with panels full of color.
Venditti and Bernard do a fantastic job crafting the story both in the writing and the visuals. It is great to see where the armor Hunters come from and how they have evolved over time. While the absence of series regular is a minor downside, this issue proves why X-O Manowar remains Valiant’s flagship title and will continue to be into the future.