Two X-O Manowar issues in back to back weeks? Could we be dreaming? Here’s our spoiler-free round robin review of X-O Manowar #33.

Amy’s take

Billed as a jumping-on point for the series, this book does just that. Robert Venditti gives readers a bit of background without being redundant while using that to propel a new story. This book is laying the groundwork for the next big conflict, but rather than feel like an introductory piece, readers are given an interesting look at history and its reach into the future. The return of the Vine coupled with the events seen at the end #32 on Gennin will likely be the catalyst for the next major event. The story also raises questions as to the depth of the armor’s connection to Aric as well as its ability to influence. I’d like to note that while Venditti writes exciting action, this book also proves that he can build compelling characters and plot points. Sandoval does a good job telling the story with his art, the most effective panels for me being those involving the Romans.

Martin’s take

If you’ve been waiting to jump onto X-O Manowar, this is a great place to start. Venditti has written a good self-contained story with a great look at Aric’s past as a Visigoth warrior while giving returning readers something to look forward to with some teases of the upcoming Dead Hand arc. Venditti has guided this character from the very beginning and it’s great to see the story and characters never get stale. Rafa Sandoval’s art is spectacular and several notches above the quality of work we saw on his Harbinger: Omegas run. This is definitely a book you’ll want to pick up this week.

Paul’s take

Only a week after the excitement of the Armorines, we are quickly on to Aric’s next story. This story started slowly and peacefully, with Aric dreaming of his life with Deidre before the Vine disrupted everything. The tension quickly grows and the lack of knowledge of what is coming creates anxiety. This comic did a great job quickly shifting from a story arc that is only a week behind us and creating said tension and anxiety, which adds gravity to the events that are to come. Plus, we get the return of the Vine! And Rafa Sandoval makes space look beautiful!

Scott’s take

As a trade-reader only (which means the last issue that I read was #29), there was no difficulty whatsoever in reading this, so when the solicitations call this a good jumping-on point, they’re not exaggerating. I would say that while this isn’t the worst place to start, it probably works best if you’ve at least read up through X-O Manowar vol. 3 (the “Planet Death” arc). In terms of story, some people might think accuse it of being a filler issue, but his run has taught me that Venditti’s “filler” issues are 1) important to the story and/or the characters and 2) as well-written as every other issue of the title. This issue reminds me of X-O Manowar #17, which I initially thought of as one of Venditti’s weakest issues, but after hearing him say that it was one of the issues that he was most proud of in an interview, I re-read it and completely changed my mind.

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