“Mankind… …That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests… …you will once again be fighting for our freedom… …Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… …but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist… …And should we win the day… …the day the world declared in one voice: We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive!”
― President Thomas J. Whitmore: Independence Day, 1996
Valiant Entertainment is building to what promises to be a memorable event with X-O Manowar #50 later this year with a 64-page series finale; including a cover that features artwork from 50 artists! As the part of the build-up to this event, X-O Manowar #48, written by series writer Robert Venditti, continues his story of “The Torment” as they threaten both The Vine and human kind on earth (COLLECTOR NOTE: this menace first appeared in X-O Manowar #11). It is an global scale invasion of epic proportions, and features an ensemble of characters from the modern Valiant Universe, including Ninjak, Livewire, Gin-Gr, and Gunnery Sergeant Lewis as they work to understand their enemy and prepare for the final confrontation. But there is much more than the threat of “The Torment” to consider, and all indications lead to a multi-directional battle with everything at stake. With only two remaining issues of X-O Manowar left, there can be no doubt that these events will significantly impact Valiant’s longest running monthly series as it comes to a close.
Artistically, there are two teams at work on this issue. For the majority of the story, there is the art team of penciler Joe Bennett, inkers Marcio Loerzer and Belaroino Brabo, and colorist Ulises Arreola. Bennet lays a solid foundation for Loerzer and Brabos to work with, and they seem to match their inks quite well over his pencils. Arreola, who is no stranger to the Valiant Universe, uses a bit of pastels for most panels with moments of more vivid colors at times. He uses directional lense flare effects on at least 10 panels, which does provide a bit of depth to those panels.
The second art team is artist Roberto De La Torre, with colorist Dean White, who provide several panels and pages of flashback memories from “The Torment” depicting past events throughout the galaxy that they are responsible for. While this teams art style is significantly different from the rest of the book, it works well in the contest of a flashback in that memories themselves typically appear different from our present reality. In this context it was a positive addition to the story.
X-O Manowar #48 is a character driven story with spikes of action and the promise of climactic events to come! X-O Manowar has long been a flagship title in the Valiant line, and there is little doubt that the best is yet to come.