“On a world called Earth, The Final Book is about to be written.”
Robert Venditti has been the sole writer of Valiant’s flagship title for almost 5 years. X-O Manowar #47 marks the beginning of the end, as the first entry in his final arc leading up to issue 50. This issue is a wonderful reminder that there’s a reason Venditti has been on the book for this long. Everything from the action to the dialogue is clean and efficient. While the villains leading up to the finale, The Torment, do little to distinguish themselves from most galactic comic villains, it looks like Aric of Dacia will be getting a great last hurrah.
The issue begins with a strikingly poetic prologue introducing the new villains. Featuring art by Roberto De La Torre the opening pages flow like a gorgeous tapestry depicting an aged fairytale. It does well to showcase the beauty and inevitable power of the The Torment by way of a quiet Vine monologue. Though reminiscent of most apocalypse bringing fare The Torment stand out thanks to the wonderful pencils by Joe Bennett, inks by Marco Leorzer and colors by Ulises Arreola. Arreola especially shines giving a galaxy reflecting blue landscape to the new foe. Unfortunately, The Torment are given little time to explain themselves as Aric and company respond violently to what I’m certain will be a body consuming misunderstanding. Venditti’s writing clearly implies a certain friendliness to the creatures, if only his own characters were bright enough to realize it.
As always the military is quick to Aric’s aid, and also just as quick to arms. Watching Earth deal with it’s intergalactic enemies with the same aggression that destroyed an innocent Vine vessel in the last arc is a bit frustrating. The Torment are obviously attempting to communicate peacefully, have the military and Aric not learned their lesson about overuse of force? The “attack first” approach has become a predictable trope used often in X-O. Having made the mistake of first blood here leads one to believe The Torment will prove themselves an ally, maybe leading to the typical “greater threat” arising later. While we watch it play out the actions of our overly aggressive characters are almost understandable. These characters have each seen an almost ludicrous amount of destruction in these 47 issues, and are clearly eager for it to end.
Regardless, it’s exciting to see X-O round up the troops and blast away at towering foes in any capacity. Venditti and his respective artists are always great at framing battle sequences, approaching any fight with an almost cinematic touch. The transition between panels featuring everything from extreme close-ups to mile-spanning vessels makes for an exciting and beautiful layout. Venditti and team clearly define the action, making it easy to follow and impossible to ignore. One wonders if modern Hollywood could take a lesson from writers like Venditti who has a talent for making alien invasions actually interesting and engaging. Though this doesn’t quite hit the highs of the Armor Hunters event, it makes for the beginning to a proper send off to one of modern comics’ greatest reinventions.
While not a game changing story to end on, X-O Manowar #47 is another great entry into Venditti’s long run on X-O Manowar. The art manages to engage and captivate on every page even if it isn’t quite as impressive as the Cary Nord days of old. Each issue shows that a lot of love and care has been put into this revival of Valiant’s literally ancient hero. One wonders if characters such as Shadowman, Eternal Warrior, or even Ninjak have the name and weight to compensate for our favorite Visigoth’s eventual absence. Hopefully, the absence will be a short one.
- Wonderful colors and pencils
- Gorgeous and Epic Battle Sequences
- Beautiful Prologue
- Overly aggressive characters
- A little predictable