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X-O Manowar #27 review

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Picking up right from the events of issue 26, X-O Manowar #27 is a flashback story of how Primary Reebo and Malgam became involved with the Armor Hunters and the the results of their first hunt.

The story

screenshot-by-nimbus (10) While I’m a huge fan of Aric and he has been missing from the book since issue 25, I have been very pleasantly surprised with the back story Robert Venditti is crafting for the Armor Hunters, though really I shouldn’t be. X-O Manowar has been one of my favorite titles since the Valiant relaunch and Venditti continues to write an exciting tale with this Armor Hunters flashback.

There are many important revelations in this issue which are sure to gain more meaning as the Armor Hunters events continues. It was great to finally get a little information on the origin of the X-O armors, and reinforce some of the thoughts I’ve had since the Planet Death arc. The armors are sentient part-organic part-technological entities born out of plants (which was referred to in the aforementioned arc).

This issue introduced quite readers to all the current Armor Hunters team as well as some we’ve seen before, such as the squid-faced Hunter from the Armor Hunters preview, as well as some new ones which don’t make it past their first hunt. The star of this story is Primary Reebo and I am really enjoying it. Venditti is doing a terrific job blurring the lines between good and bad guys and there are times where I can’t help but root for Reebo – even if he did order the deaths of millions with the destruction of Mexico City.

screenshot-by-nimbus (11) The art

Diego Bernard continues to be one of my favorite artists at Valiant and he is just write for this book. The character designs are excellent, and while some panels lack some detail, the book as a whole is great overall. One of my favorite panels of the issue is when the five Gin-Grs return from an unsuccessful hunt – more Gin-Gr please!

As much as I enjoy Bernard’s pencils, the art is really set off by Allison Rodriguez’s ink and Brian Reber’s color work. This art team is really kicking it up a notch with their story telling and I hope we get to see more of this team up.

Overall

X-O Manowar #27 is a great issue for anyone following the Armor Hunters summer event. If you’re new to the book you may want to go back and reread the previous issue to get some back story, but current readers will be very please. Aside from a few minor issues, the story and art are fluid and engaging. Robert Venditti continues to expand the X-O mythos with a compelling narrative that continues to pay off.

Rating [author-post-rating]

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  • Lee Nicholson

    Hi Martin. Really good review.
    Im really enjoying the X-O book at the moment. The Armor Hunter event is starting to get monumentally epic and this book adds so much weight to current proceedings….shame I cant say the same for the tie in books!
    First thing I will say is the art really caught my attention here. Bernard and the team have some fantastic opening panels and pages. Was great to see some known and unknown faces on that first page in the transport then pg. 2 and 3…wow!! I loved the symbolism too of the original Armor planet now being where the Hunter’s have their primary base of operations. You get a real sense of how big the Hunter operation is and how its coordinated and controlled. They clearly have a lot of resources but mirrored to that is seeing how quick they can lose those resources. Eighteen squads sent out and only five empty vessels return. The task at hand is clearly daunting and big.
    It was great to see Mopp even though tinged with sadness as we already know his fate. Likewise we see the formation of the current Hunter team, Lilt, Quartz and Helix.
    Perhaps the most interesting character to come from this book is Reebo. A bounty hunter but not necessarily a bad or evil person.
    He does what he does to survive and make a living….debatable I know! He is not easy to understand or sympathise with but you can certainly see things from his perspective. Venditti has been building Reebo up to be a natural leader, someone others gravitate too. Here, Reebo is given the Primary title. Control can see the potential in him.
    I love the way Control manipulates Reebo into going on the mission. By claiming the Armor cancer is practically knocking on his home world’s front door. It doesn’t take Reebo long to see it Control’s way and thus begins the limited History lesson. I love a revelation and Venditti teased just enough about the origin of the Armor and how its ‘born’. Great stuff which I’m sure will be explored later.
    While this first half was for me a 5/5, the book swiftly changes gear to a combat environment. The first hunt by Reebo and co. For me the art work suffers. Im not sure I like the design of the fully formed Armor. It’s very bird- like and has very little definition. I also wasn’t all that happy with the battle. This is a bunch of Hunter Virgins and they manage to take out an Armor with relative ease. Yes, its entertaining, but not too creative. I was hoping for more.
    Reebo as primary shines once again in the leadership role with the others following his every command.
    When the Armor is finally felled it tried to plead for its life, now is this the Armor or the host talking? Does something of the host survive?
    Maybe that will be answered soon.
    Reebo’s embrace of the Hunter code and tradition comes a bit too quick for me too. Instead of easing into the role, by the last panel he is quoting Control. I assume this was to progress the back story going into next issue, but in this case, slow and steady would have been preferable. To see Reebo’s gradual transformation into a fully fledged Hunter.
    But overall I cant really fault this book. Great art in places. Nice plotting and fantastic dialogue from Venditti. Im loving the back story and cant wait to see how Malgam becomes Armor-Malgam.
    4.5/5