By Robert Venditti, Robert Gill, Ulises Arreola, and Mike Choi.

““There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them.”
― Winston S. Churchill

This is a story worth reading, and a fantastic starting point for new readers. All of the pieces of writer Robert Venditti’s ongoing galactic barbarian-king saga are coming together to create an enjoyable experience for long-time fans as well as those new readers who are unfamiliar with the story that is X-O Manowar.

X-O Manowar #43 begins the next chapter of this story with “The Killing List” story arc (featuring Ninjak). Long time fans and/or readers of the series will be in for a treat; especially fans from the 1990’s who have been waiting for this issue (whether they know it yet or not). Venditti captures the nuances of each character (and their relationships with one another) as they were meant to be. One cannot help while reading this book but to eagerly look forward to how this story plays out. It feels like a political spy thriller, in a science fiction setting, with a dash of Valiant magic.

Artist Robert Gill possesses tremendous vision and/or ability. Each page has a traditional comic book look and feel to it, with clean lines depicting both movement and character emotion quite well. Colorist Ulises Arreola must have enjoyed what he was given to work with, as Gill’s work provided him with a large degree of freedom. Arreola’s colors bring Gill’s lines to life, and add a degree of vibrance to key pages that is not overdone. This is a creative team that would be warmly welcomed to continue working together on this title as it progresses with subsequent issues and approaches X-O Manowar #50 later this year.

It is also worth mentioning artist Mike Choi’s cover art for the 1:20 incentive variant, which (subjectively speaking) is perhaps one of the most stunning and unique X-O Manowar covers in recent memory. Originally rendered using graphite only, which (while traditional in execution) only further cements the point of this cover’s artistic excellence and anatomically accurate detail!  Take a close look at both the hands and feet, and how Shanhara (the X-O Manowar armor) bonds to them. Since the character’s 1992 debut in X-O Manowar #1, not once have we seen the character drawn like this, and it works very well! If there is to someday be an X-O Manowar movie made, this is the most lifelike and/ believable image to base the (likely) CGI armor on. Well done, Mike Choi, well done!

If you have been looking for a place to jump into X-O Manowar, but have not yet found it, this is that place.  This is an award-winning series that should not be missed.

X-O MANOWAR #43 1:20 Cover D Incentive Mike Choi Variant

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