“A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.”
― Baltasar Gracián
As the last issue before next month’s massive 64-page final issue of X-O Manowar, writer Robert Venditti’s take of intergalactic war on earth comes to a head with X-O Manowar #49. The story has been a three-way battle focusing on X-O Manowar with humanity, Commander Trill with The Vine, and The Torment. This creates a unique battle dynamic which allows for each character to be explored in terms of their willingness to compromise to achieve their own goal of survival. While not overly complex, this story does not need to be. X-O Manowar #49 is action packed science-fiction about impending global domination by ancient alien invaders, and it would be difficult to not enjoy such a story. With the promise of a huge climactic event next month, X-O Manowar #49 has set the stage for readers and fans of the series.
Artistically, the art team of penciler Joe Bennett, inker Marcio Loerzer, and colorist Ulises Arreola create a significant amount of action from start to finish. There are space ship fleets zipping about the earth’s surface with afterburners blazing, and gigantic aliens capturing civilians in the streets of New York City while demolishing buildings. The Page #10 double page spread shows dozens of recognizable characters and ships fearlessly flying into action, and is quite epic in size and scope. Bennett and Loerzer seem to work well together, and understand the defining visual nuances of each character well enough to provide a stellar product. Arreola does fantastic on colors, providing a level of richness and depth that is actually above and beyond what is normally seen. The faces of the two children in the bottom right panel of page #12 (which Bennet created with a well done sense of emotion) have multiple layers of color that adds life-like depth and texture with a clearly visible lighting and shadows cast on their faces. Nothing is two-dimensional as a result, which makes for a much more enjoyable reading experience then this issue might otherwise have been without Areola’s work.
X-O Manowar #49 is a disaster story filled with destruction as a galactic titans wage war against one another with perhaps earth’s greatest city as the battlefield. There are uneasy alliances formed, strategic decisions made, and self-sacrifice given for the continuation of life as it is known. If you enjoy reading about competing alien races that invade earth and battle against a warrior king and his power armor wearing army backed with a fleet of advanced aircraft and starships, X-O Manowar #49 is the book for you!