Review: X-O Manowar #21

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The Brothers of the Bomb explode onto the scene!

The Brothers of the Bomb have invaded our world, and only the armored Visigoth vanguard known as X-O Manowar can stand between them and total devastation! But they aren’t alone…other fatal forces from the Unknown are fast approaching, too…

X-O Manowar is a series that has always been at its best when Aric of Dacia finds himself torn between two rival factions and is forced to make a choice between the two – usually this results in him choosing a side or forcing a standstill in the conflict. But it’s always the how and the why that makes these stories so engaging. Matt Kindt has already woven an epic story around these themes as Aric went from soldier to general to emperor earlier in the series, by returning to the theme we see another facet of the character as he acts more as an instrument, as a weapon, for others to wield. What pulls me in with this angle is that after the recent events in the series, Aric is aware of the role he is playing, and simply doesn’t care. This is a man who is searching for a purpose, and when he finds it he throws himself at the new purpose with a near reckless abandon – bringing to mind the youthful exuberance we’ve seen in flashback sequences.

For as far as Aric has come, as wise as he and the armour can be, sometimes one gets the sense he longs for the simpler life that was stolen from him.

But putting the philosophizing aside, and getting back to the comic (this is, after all, a review of X-O Manowar #21 and not a character analysis of Aric of Dacia), the story of X-O Manowar #21 is brought to life by artist Juan Jose Ryp and colorist Andrew Dalhouse. Ryp and Dalhouse are as visually exciting as you would expect from two artists with as much talent as they have. Page layouts, camera angles and even the way the boarders and gutters are used lend a dynamically exciting frame to the action within the story. Ryp’s trademark hyper-detailed style is on top form here, and Dalhouse flourishes each page with an expert use of colour that is often brightly at odds with the tense scenes occurring on the page. It’s a dichotomy that works.

At the end of the day, if you have been reading this series, then you’re going to love what you’ve seen so far. If you haven’t, then there’s only two or three issues you’d need to pick up in order to catch up fully with this comic (though you could probably read this as a starting point and be fine) – and I genuinely recommend that you check this out. X-O Manowar is a superbly entertaining series that questions the nature of freewill, purpose and even heroism. It shouldn’t be left on the comic shop racks.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Juan Jose Ryp
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.6 Art: 9.2 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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