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Review: X-O Manowar #3

 X-O Manowar #3

Who wins in a fight: X-O Manowar or a cybernetic tech monster formed out of lava? In order to prevent catastrophe, will Aric hand over the X-O armor to a new ally? Find out in X-O Manowar #3!

Over the years, I’ve taken to pasting the preview/solicitation text for the comics I’m reviewing in the review before I get to what I want to say about the book because that way you’ll have an idea of what the comic is about without having anything spoiled/revealed that hasn’t already been revealed by the publisher. The text above, honestly, gives you very little about the content of the comic itself. Unfortunately, there is a reason for that; the plot of this issue is fairly thin,

This X-O Manowar series hasn’t been as popular with fans as the previous two written by Robert Venditti and Matt Kindt, and I was in the minority of those who really enjoyed the direction that Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum had been taking the character over the course of the first two issues, but with X-O Manowar #3 there’s something missing.

The vibrancy seems to have gone from the comic, with much of the issue focused on Aric doing things he doesn’t particularly care for, and it seems Hallum isn’t as interested in showing us, either – although maybe he is adept at showing that on the page a little too well, as it comes across as a little clunky, with the few bright spots not being enough to balance almost the entire middle of the book. Where the previous two issues had dialogue that was quite witty at times, this issue had none of the warm banter between Aric and Shanhara (which, granted, wasn’t to everyone’s taste) – the back and forth between Aric and his armour felt much more forced than it had.

Maybe it’s because the story’s focus is on PR at the expense of saving lives, and maybe I’m feeling Aric’s displeasure at the way he’s being used, but I don’t think that’s the case.

Emilio Laiso‘s art combined with Ruth Redmond‘s colouring is still a high point in the comic, and at least provides something interesting to look at when reading the at times dull comic. Redmond’s colours that elevate Laiso’s art consistently, and whether it’s the raging lava of a volcano or the more mundane breakfast table scene earlier in the comic (this was actually my favourite part of the comic, honestly – unfortunately it’s at the beginning, and it’s downhill from there).

There’s no doubt that this is the weakest X-O Manowar comic I’ve read in a long time, but it comes off the bck of two comics I did enjoy; the issues I have with this one, primarily is that there’s too much happening and yet very little plot movement – the social issues that had been present in the previous comics are much more muted in this issue (to the point where I find myself having to really stretch to see them). The art saves it a little, and even with what’s probably meant to be a character defining change within its pages, this isn’t a comic that’ll draw new readers in – whether you’re a Valiant fan already or not. hopefully this book is an aberration, a slight dip in an otherwise enjoyable series, because if the quality of X-O Manowar #3 is indicative of where the series is heading, I don’t foresee the series lasting as long as Kindt’s run.

Story: Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum Art: Emilio Laiso
Colors: Ruth Redmond Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 5.9 Art: 8.2 Overall: 6.7 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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