STORY BY: Robert Venditti
ART BY: Diego Bernard, Alisson Rodriguez
COLORS BY: Romulo Fajardo
LETTERS BY: Dave Sharpe
COVER BY: Cafu, Juan Doe
PUBLISHER: Valiant Entertainment
COVER PRICE: $3.99
Release Date: 09/24/2014
The armor hunters have been defeated, Aric of Dacia was victorious, but what is next for our hero now this latest threat to the Valiant Universe has been defeated.
Valiant has always used XO Manowar as the book they build the whole of the universe from, whilst Venditti uses this issue to calm things down a bit to allow our hero to take stock of his life and embark on a new adventure with Valiant’s S.H.I.E.L.D, M.E.R.O. Appropriately this issue is titled Slow Burn, it gives us some nice character moments as Aric deals with the ramifications personally from the invasion of the Armour Hunters but, also helping his friends gain some closure also. It sets up future arcs really well, dropping enough hints and intrigues to entice the reader for future issues, whilst giving long-time fans closure.
The only problem I found with this issue comes in a parallel that is easily drawn with one of the new characters in Aric’s life, the Lady Colonel. Everything she does appears drawn from Nick Fury/Maria Hill/Amanda Waller in the Marvel and DC Universes and already with Toyo Harada in the mix I am not convinced that the Valiant Universe needs another character like this. I like her characterisation and with the games she is pulling you get the feeling that her comeuppance will come sooner or later, I am just not sure that having a character in that archetype benefits the Valiant Universe and takes away some of the uniqueness and identity that I felt when reading the first few issues of Harbinger and XO Manowar.
Art duties in this issue by Bernard, Rodrigues and Fajardo however, make this book look beautiful. Every page is a treat to the eye; Bernard’s pencils are so detailed that you cannot help but get lost in the detail of each panel. Coupled with the inks and colours from Rodrigues and Fajardo everything just clicks into place with this book and I hope the art team stays around for a very long time. As this is a quieter issue compared to an all-out brawl the artists still manage to make each panel exciting for the reader.
Slight criticisms aside, XO Manowar #29 is another great issue in this series, giving us some nice character moments and setting up future arcs that leave this series with endless potential and plenty of places to go.
By Matt Deery