by Robert Venditti, Diego Bernard and Wil Quintana
Poor Aric just can’t catch a break. Just when you think he’s done for a while and maybe we’ll have a few issues of him just lounging around in his underwear, maybe playing some video games, Robert Venditti hits him with something else. Between this and his other space adventure, it’s really starting to look like Venditti just has a hate on for these characters. But, in the same breath, he sure keeps it damn interesting for us to follow.
In typical Venditti fashion, Aric is thrown another curveball this time by a, for lack of another comparison, Tony Stark-esque CEO with less than noble intentions. Considering the degree with which Philip Zahn has planned this attack and his complete and utter ruthlessness, this might be a villain more than worthy of a warrior the caliber of the X-O Manowar. Maybe not in a strict muscle vs. muscle contest, but Zahn certainly seems to have the edge in the intelligence department. Whether or not Venditti has it out for our beloved Visigoth, he’s brought in a villain that’s exciting and interesting while also putting Aric in a hell of a terrible spot.
By now, it’s pretty clear that Diego Bernard is the top X-O Manowar artist. He’s shown that time and time again, with this issue being no different. The Armorine designs are superb and his character work is just top-notch. His Aric has become the Aric and hopefully we’ll get plenty more from him in the issues to come. For his part, colorist Wil Quintana puts up, arguably, his best work on X-O Manowar to date. Every single panel is vibrant and jumps off the page, particularly some of the Zahn scenes at the start and the fireworks sequence with Aric and his subjects.
This team has yet to disappoint and continue to roll out issues at the level that we’ve all gotten used to on X-O Manowar. It’s hard to pick out flaws or complaints when the team can continually put out books at this level, so all props to them, and of course Valiant, for bringing them together. Venditti and Bernard, along with Quintana, are a team that needs to stick with X-O for the foreseeable future. They’re building an epic in their corner of the Valiant Universe and I, for one, feel sorry for anybody that has to follow them when, inevitably, their run is done. Let’s just continue to hope that’s a long time from now.