Wednesday, July 18, 2012

X-O Manorwar #3: "This is a Good Armor."

X-O Manowar #3
"The Road to Rome"
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Cary Nord
Inker: Stefano Gaudiano
Colourist: Moose Baumann
July 18, 2012

This is the issue I've been waiting for! After the cliffhanger of Issue #2, Aric has bonded with the armor of Shanhara and is ready to kick alien ass all over the Vine colony ship. As a single issue, "The Road to Rome" is my favourite of the relaunched Valiant universe so far, and a testament to the seriously high quality storytelling and art that this publisher is capable of, and has been producing consistently since their return to comics early this summer.

I digress. As I said before, this issue begins with Aric bonded to the living armor on board the Vine ship and fighting back against his alien captors. The majority of this issue is non-stop action, as Aric and the kidnapped human slaves turn the Vine's own weapons against them. However, what impresses me the most about this issue is how it manages to include so much tragedy and drama as the action progresses.

Yes, there is a Visigoth barbarian in space wearing living armor killing aliens with a lightning sword, but there is also some very strong character development at work in this issue. Aric has already been more developed in these three issues than in the entire first arc of the original series in the 1990s. That is high praise, I know, but this book and the creative team responsible deserve it.

Cary Nord's artwork on X-O Manowar has been phenomenal so far, but this issue sees some of his best work yet. Venditti's script is well-paced, without seeming decompressed. I have already mentioned the great character work in this book, but I can't stress enough how much of an improvement this is over the original incarnation of the character.

Venditti's Aric is still a rage-filled barbarian, but that rage has its source in the profound loss, not only of his wife and kin, but his sense of time and place. Aric has a lot of reasons to be angry, and I can't wait to see Venditti develop his character further after his return to Earth.

The overall production of X-O Manowar #3 exceeds most of what the Big Two have released this month. There is a perfect fusion here between the script, the art, inking and the colours. Everything in this book is consistently excellent and just screams high quality.

If you haven't been following The Summer of Valiant, it is time to get motivated and buy the first three issues of X-O Manowar.

This is a good armor, indeed.

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