Review – X-O Manowar #20 (Valiant)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artists: Cary Nord, Vicente Cifuentes
Release Date: 18th December 2013

The latest issue of X-O Manowar is billed as a ’Unity Tie-In’, but to be honest, reading the previous issues of the event (Unity #2 in particular) is more or less mandatory when it comes to gaining a full understanding of just what’s going on.  That said, those of us who have been following this universe-spanning crossover until now are in for an absolute treat.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, my familiarity with the Valiant universe is more or less nonexistent, save for a few familiar-sounding names here and there.  So while some of the events in this comic (and of the Unity crossover as a whole) may not resonate quite as deeply with me as they would with long-time fans, there’s still enough great storytelling on display here to keep me satisfied.

Following on directly from the dramatic finale of Unity #2, Harada’s botched assault on Aric plays out in typically dramatic and violent fashion.  Venditti’s dialogue is crisply delivered, and displays enough characterization for the main players to give a newbie like myself a decent  understanding of just what they’re all about.  And while the occasional quip about events that have happened in the past will sail gleefully over my head, it’s difficult not to get drawn into what is – at the heart of it – an incredibly straightforward story.

Cary Nord’s artwork is always solid, breaking out occasionally with some blistering set-pieces, and echoing the drama of Venditti’s writing perfectly.  He utilises an extremely cinematic style, and it’s all too easy to imagine this battle playing out on the big screen as you chomp down handfuls of salty popcorn.

Overall, while this is most definitely not the ‘standalone story arc’ it’s advertised as, this title works well as part of the ongoing saga, and provides some key character and storyline beats that are undoubtedly going to prove significant as the rest of this crossover unfolds.  Well worth a look, but only if you have some knowledge of what has happened previously.

Rating: 7.5/10.

The writer of this piece was: 576682_510764502303144_947146289_nCraig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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