REVIEW: X-O Manowar #36

STORY BY: Robert Venditti
ART BY: Diego Bernard
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Release Date: 05/13/2015

It’s easy to dismiss X-O as a wannabe Iron Man, after all there are some similarities, there is a man and there is armour. On closer inspection those are the only similarities.  Instead, X-O is more of a hybrid of elements of Iron Man and elements of Green Lantern. Either way, there is enough differences in the book to warrant attention.

This issue sees Aric, out gunned by the Dead Hand revert to his Visigoth ancestry by leading an army of armour.  This is part three of the ongoing story and as such, it  could be seen as a transition issue, but what an issue! For starters, writer Robert Venditti is clearly on top of his game.  He has been at the helm of Aric’s journey since the Valiant re-start in 2012 and very rarely has the quality suffered.  Whilst the plot is bubbling along quite nicely, the script just plain sparkles. You can feel the monotone of the “one and all” just as much as you feel the fury in Aric’s assertion of “no honour”.

The art by Diego Bernard is also top notch. Sometimes, you find in comic books, that an artist can be stronger in action panels or set up panels. The quality artists can do both and whilst it would be hard to say Bernard is on par with Capullo or Lee, for example, if his portfolio of work continues at this pace, he will soon will be mentioned in the same breath. Inks play a part in the book, with so many different elements, and armours, to contend with Ryan Winn does a fantastic job, as does colourist Brian Reber, who helps set the tone, especially with the ethereal elements of the congress.

As mentioned in a previous review, I am a big fan of X-O from way back. I am glad to see that this newer version doesn’t disappoint, in fact you could even say that about Valiant books on the whole, one and all!

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