This review is coming from someone pretty new to Valiant mythology, so solely from the recap page, I thought this book would be overwhelming. However, I had no issues following along, even with the diverse cast, fast-paced action, and sociopolitical undertones. The writing is complex and the artwork is vivid and I would consider this comic exceptional.
Concluding the current arc is a showdown between an alien race called the Vine and the Visigoths, ruled by X-O Manowar. Our introduction is a glimpse at the universe and a monologue about how we, as a species, dedicate an incredible amount of time eradicating other races. On the battlefield, the priest of the Vine is recovering from a comatose state under the care of the Visigoths, whom he tells that Commander Trill now controls the Vine army and is hell-bent on destroying the human race rather than attempt coexistence. While X-O Manowar is away on other business, the defense lies in the hands of the Armorines, an airborne fighting force that remind me of a hybrid between the Power Rangers and Iron Man. X-O Manowar enters the fray thanks to a ride from Ninjak, and has a final plea for peace with Trill. However, his headstrong ideology proves too much for a logical compromise and the battle reaches its pinnacle. The last page sets up the next arc, and it’s definitely not what you’d expect.
This book pleasantly surprised me. I enjoyed the question of morality posed by the writer as to the ability to share land and prosper with your enemy. It could be compared to the plight of Native Americans, trusting at first but being slaughtered and overpowered until cohabitation was impossible. Robert Venditti is wise to begin and end with similar sentiments, as it shows how differently a statement can be interpreted when the context changes. Also, he makes a point that not every member of the Vine wants to destroy the human race, but a tyrant can control the collective to his own ends. The fight scenes by artist Robert Gill are super fun to experience with everything from large battle overviews to one-on-one encounters. The Trill vs X-O Manowar fight scene is pretty epic, and even though he’s a villain, I really enjoy Commander Trill’s aesthetic. Ulises Arreola colors the metallic flight suits in true sci-fi fantasy fashion. I do love the color coordinated members of the Armorines.
As I said, I didn’t go into this with high expectations because indie comics can be hit or miss. I’ve been reading Faith, but this is a way different genre and creative team (with awesome first names, I may add). X-O Manowar #46 delivers a futuristic battle between an alien race and Visigoths in flight suits. It’s fun action with a meaningful dialogue on human (or alien) freedoms which I think many comic readers would enjoy.
Quite Enjoyable, Four out of Five Stars
Written by ROBERT VENDITTI
Art by ROBERT GILL