Review: ‘X-O Manowar’ #8

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Trying to find new ways to rave about Valiant’s books is becoming increasingly difficult each month. The company’s entire line of books are stellar and consistently leading the pack is X-O Manowar. Writer Robert Venditti has taken “X-O Manowar”, and turned it into the crown jewel of the company’s relaunch. “X-O Manowar” combines all the best elements of “300″, “Conan”, and “Iron Man” into one melting pot that is enhanced by spellbinding action, intriguing characters, and some remarkably poignant storytelling.

WRITTEN BY: Robert Venditti
ART BY: Lee Garbett
PUBLISHER: Valiant
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: December 19th, 2012

Issue #8 concludes the second story arc, and reintroduces Ninjak to the Valiant universe. Ninjak is Valiant’s version of James Bond, so he brought elements of international espionage and treacherous treason with him to the series. Since Ninjak’s arrival, the book has been filled with dynamic action scenes and interesting plot twists. Rather than use the guest appearance as a cheap sales gimmick, Venditti actually uses Ninjak to help advance the overall storyline. It’s apparent that the creative team is building to a much larger showdown between Aric and The Vine alien race in the next storyline “Planet Death”, and this issue ends by teasing readers with a glimpse of things to come.

Artist Cary Nord set the bar pretty high on the first four issues. This second arc has featured the artistic talents of Lee Garbett, whose conventional style and sense of storytelling is the perfect complement for the scriptwork. Garbett delivers some blockbuster battle sequences in this issue as Aric Dacia and Ninjak blast and slash their way through the British Secret Intelligence Service.

“X-O Manowar” should be on the top of your reading pile every month, as every issue of so far has been top notch. The first trade is conveniently priced at just $9.99, so why not join in the fun. In a comic book marketplace where most books are plagued with inconsistent creative teams, it’s refreshing to see a book like “X-O Manowar” that is intricately mapped out, building towards a big payoff. Venditti loads “X-O Manowar” with enough energy and excitement to satisfy casual readers and reward longtime fans with some sophisticated comic book fiction.

4/5 Skulls