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X-O Manowar #29

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by Robert Venditti, Diego Bernard

Yesterday saw the thrilling conclusion to the Armor Hunters saga which ends here with X-O Manowar #29. With the hunters defeated, what could be Aric’s next mission? Find out in our review!

The story

When we last left Malgam at the end of Armor Hunters: Bloodshot #3, he has been contained inside a force field prison inside what remains of the M.E.R.O. base deep underground, alone and left to fend for himself. As the issue opens, a group of men in hazmat suits enter M.E.R.O. and offer him a way out, and a cure for his viral infection – his own armor. As Malgam is convinced of the men’s intentions, one of them betrays the rest of the team and deploys the sterilization protocols inside Malgam’s cell in order to destroy what’s left of Malgam, and turn him into a new armor orb.

After being absent from his titular book for several issues, Aric makes a triumphant return just in time to save Malgam from being destroyed. Aric uses his own suit to communicate with Malgam’s armor and convince him that a cure is real. Because of Aric’s control over his own armor, he is able to give Malgam a semblance of control, turning Malgam into an ally.

As the two head off, Colonel Capshaw is seen talking to a member of MI-6 and reveals that she has Reebo’s armor-killing spear in her possession.

Armor Hunters was an action-packed event, so it was really nice to see Robert Venditti step it down a notch for this issue. The interaction between Colonel Capshaw and Aric at the beginning of the book was really interesting, especially considering there may be a secret plot brewing in the background – no doubt as part of the upcoming Armorines arc this November. It was amazing to finally have Aric gain his official title, X-O Manowar, a title referring to his new status as executive office, and Capshaw’s second in command. I guess saving the world from an alien threat certainly has its advantages!

The art

Diego Bernard continues to impress in the art department. There were a few panels that lacked in overall detail, but those were few and far between and the art is generally clean and polished. Huge props to Romulo Fajardo on his color work as it really compliments Bernard’s art quite well.

Overall

This issue serves as a bridge between Armor Hunters and the upcoming Armorines arc and I couldn’t be happier. Venditti and Bernard continue to steer this book in the right direction and this issue proves why X-O Manowar continues to be Valiant’s flagship title.

X-O Manowar

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  • Lee Nicholson

    The Art – some of the best I have saw from Benard. His facial work is great here. The close up shots of Capshaw and Aric early on in the book are superb to look at – the facial definition has improved a hell of a lot – the colours too were top notch here, my only art gripe is the inking later on in the book, it gets a bit too dark and heavy and looks a bit out of place, but for the most part, the art in this issue is fab!

    The Cover – For me a bit too misleading – I appreciate that this is the fall out / aftermath of the Armor Hunter mini series, and you would maybe expect to see a lot of doom and gloom left over, which the cover depicts, but the actual story here is very different – so I would have preferred a different cover – a more sombre one.
    It does look great, but not too accurate compared to the actual inside material.

    The Story – I really enjoyed this story. It is well written, Venditti is one of my favourite writers in all of comics today. He manages to simplify down thoughts and ideas, but in a very smart and clever way. The story is nicely paced and does a great job of picking up from where Armor Hunters 4 left off.
    I really liked the direction the book went with Malgam – this character has really been through the mill. The emotional range that Venditti makes Malgam goes through is torturous – you can see his demeanour change when the commandos make reference of a cure, only for him to feel betrayed moments later, not only is he locked up again and dealing with the fact he is what he hates – he basically has a cancer taking over his body, he then finds out that Reebo has been killed. The man he thought of as a brother. Malgam and Reebo were closer than family and even though Malgam was running from Reebo, hearing that his ‘brother’ had been killed is terrible news, tinged no doubt with slight relief. The Hunter’s are gone and Malgam can stop running.

    Venditti does a great job of adding in a few mysteries to this story too. The opening pages are filled with a group who are working independently of MERO – and then the betrayal – Sven is working for someone who has a vested interest in the armor – but who is it? Then the ultimate twist, Capshaw and Neville working together, and now Neville has the one weapon that can kill Aric, supplied to him by Capshaw. Clearly she wants a ‘nuclear option’ in case Aric goes off the rails.

    Quite a fast paced and entertaining book, with fab art and more questions being asked which will get me back month after month. Bring it on!

    4/5

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