Review: X-O Manowar #5
Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Doug Braithwaite
Colours: Diego Rodriguez
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
‘Planet Gorin is in trouble and Aric of Urth is in the thick of it. He’s achieved the rank of Captain in the Azure army, but there are troubling signs that the Cadmium are not the only ones with dark secrets. With his trusted squad beside him, Aric’s quest to capture the Cadmium President has frequently been at odds with the actions of the Azure forces.
Questioning his loyalty and the nature of the war he has entered, Aric must uncover the truth or die in its pursuit.’
The fifth installment to the latest Manowar epic series is packed full of everything we’ve come to expect from the philosopher warrior and his exploits. The most appealing thing about the plot is that the real twists lay in the political intrigue that appears to follow his every decision. No action is without consequence, of course, thus Aric’s maneuvering has attracted attention from all sides. On the one hand, he has become a victim of his own success, rising to position of Captain amongst the Azure forces; the very people he unleashed a violent attack against way back in the series prologue. In the literary sense too, the character has become a victim of his own success, in that the readership have come to expect a layered narrative juxtaposed with blistering action and if ever an issue falls short, it will be noticeable. But the real question is, is there any danger of this happening soon?
Our issue begins at the home of Schon, where Aric delves further into his thinking behind his current inclination towards the Azure, regardless of their possible ulterior intentions. Schon has been a great plot device so far in the series, allowing us to witness the inner workings of the muscle-clad but ultimately modest mover. Kindt has continued to present her as a source of mystery as well as refuge. It’s this supporting cast that subtly carries us to the action and beyond. Schon’s sequence is again remembered for Braithwaite and Rodriguez’s clever use of light and dark, shading and openness, as a metaphor for the light being shed on the unfurling events. This brilliantly mirrors the dialogue which is pregnant with passion and hope, but with more than a hint of peril. Aric effectively walks us through the reasons behind the ensuing battle and drags us there to witness an epic-scale bloodbath. Of course he would! Scenes of violence are bursting from the page, explosive and dynamic; the pages aren’t overloaded with panelling and thus isn’t slowed down, as could be the temptation with a lesser artistic team, and the action rolls out with a heady pace. As usual, the action sequences are a highlight and a pleasure to pick through.
Further on, we are awakened to the plight of another tribe, The Burnt, who have encountered a danger that could point to their ultimate destruction. But will Aric stand shoulder to shoulder with these outliers or has he had his fill of allegiances? Have the political classes wizened him to the the extent where he can no longer trust? It’s at this point that we might think that considering the series is so concept heavy, Sharpe does an excellent job of not littering the sequences with dialogue and text boxes. Yes, action scenes are relatively clean, but clever use of available space does mean that dialogue frames have boxes that are unobtrusive and don’t feel crowded.
Overall, the issue does everything to enhance the energy and build-up of the series so far. It is building up a head of steam and expectations for an explosive finale are high. This has the potential to be the most successful Manowar run yet, with plaudits coming thick and fast. Yes, we all have one eye on the next issue but don’t miss the glory of the present one.
Thank you for reading our review of X-O Manowar #5. We here at the Chico Comics Page appreciate your viewership. We invite you to check back with us soon as we post often. Or, you can follow us on Facebook (The Chico Comics Page) and Twitter (@ChicoComicsPage) for regular updates on all of our posts.
Review written by Arun S.
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