By Robert Venditti, Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona and Ulises Arreola,
“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
― G.K. Chesterton
Things are getting interesting. Writer Robert Venditti has provided a consistently solid product to readers and fans of X-O Manowar for more than 40 consecutive issues, and X-O Manowar #41 is no exception to this. Part 2 of the “Exodus” story arc tbegan in X-O Manowar #40, but one could argue that it started LONG before that, with plot elements that reach back to the “By the Sword” (X-O #1 through #4) “Dead Hand” (X-O #34 through #37) “and “Planet Death” (X-O #9 through #14). With X-O Manowar #41, Venditti delivers an interspecies, interstellar, science fiction, political-action-thriller! Seriously, this story would translate quite well into a full feature animated film. The stakes are high and Venditti’s story walks readers along a razor’s edge as we witness a world on the brink of war. Not only does this book do well as the second part of the “Exodus” story arc, but it serves well for the title as a whole. This book just feels like a well-planned expansion of everything that has made X-O Manowar one of the most reliably well written and enjoyable Valiant flagship titles since the 2012 re-launch!
Rafa Sandoval’s pencils and Jordi Tarragona’s inking once again work well together to give readers the visually accurate character they have come to know. Completely adding to my earlier statement of how this book feels; this book looks exactly what an X-O Manowar book is expected to look like. These two have worked on a number of X-O Manowar issues, and so it is no shock that they have an effective working system between them at this point. Ulises Arreola’s colors add depth to each page with rich, textured backgrounds; lens flare effects; appropriate use of glowing techniques; and plenty of machine gun muzzle-flashes and plasma blasts along with the expected red human and green Vine blood that accompany such things. Arreola does a very good job enhancing both Sandoval and Tarragona’s art.
Make no mistake, this is excellent stuff that is well worth the cover price. With the consistency fans and readers have enjoyed since X-O Manowar re-launched the Valiant Universe in 2012, it’s not a bad idea to re-read earlier story arcs like “By the Sword”, “Dead Hand”, and “Planet Death” as they are not required reading, but recommended reading to fully enjoy the magic of X-O Manowar’s present, and future direction.