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X-O Manowar #47: Beginning of the End is a Surprisingly Strong Jumping on Point

Written by Mike Ambrose on Sunday, July 03 2016 and posted in Reviews

X-O Manowar #47: Beginning of the End is a Surprisingly Strong Jumping on Point

The march to Aric's last battle begins as Valiant's longest running title kicks off it's final arc.


Source: Valiant Entertainment

Writer: Robert Venditti
Pencils: Joe Bennett
Inks: Marcio Loerzer
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Flashback Sequence Art: Roberto de la Torre and Dean White
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover Artist: Kano, Phil Jimenez, Khoi Pham, Clayton Henry, Rafa Sandoval, David Lafuente, Jeff Lemire

X-O Manowar #47 opens with a four-page recap of Vine history, as the injured High Priest of the Vine explains who the god-like beings invading Earth are to Aric's wife Saana. The sequence is illustrated by Roberto de la Torre and Dean White. While sparse in panel content, the pages feature beautifully illustrated panel borders and gutters. The High Priest mentions "an immaculate marriage of plant, consciousness, and machine" and the artists absolutely nail that in the panel border illustrations. In addition to being a succinct recap of the last 46 issues of the comic, the art is very engaging. It's a rare thing when a comic handles straight up exposition so deftly.

XO 047 002

The sequence is reminiscent of X-O Manowar #11, which kicks off the Planet Death storyline. That story touches on the origins of the X-O suit, the Vine's response to the Torment (the above mentioned god-like beings). It was a time so long in the past that it became part of Vine myth and religion. X-O Manowar #47 brings that myth to life.

The comic then moves to the current narrative illustrated by Joe Bennett, in a more straight-forward super hero style. Bennett uses some creative panel layout on his first page, overlapping and askew panels, to make that move in a very effective way, conveying a real sense of cinematic transition. It's great work from Bennett.

Bennett's illustration of the Torment is also great work. He conveys their alien nature and god-like power well. The way the Torment absorb knowledge, by literally absorbing other beings, creates a distinct pattern over their bodies. Colorist Ulises Arreola adds some great effects on the Torment, filling their bodies with a nice looking starscape. It's not an entirely new effect in superhero comics, but it's done well here and I always enjoy seeing it. The Torment have some very Kirby-esque elements, which is something else I always enjoy seeing.

The story is a pretty basic one - Aric and the Vine soldiers that remain on Earth try to repel the invading Torment. Trill, commander of the Vine forces, recognize the power of the Torment and flee after a failed attack. Aric, joined by US forces and the Armorines, find their attack equally ineffective and are also forced to retreat. The Torment present a significant threat, but the exact one the X-O armor was made to combat. The meat of this story will come in the next three issues as Aric and his allies figure out how that is going to work and what the costs might be.

We are given a few good character moments, though they don't really tell us anything new about Aric. He's determined in the face of insurmountable odds, confident, and noble, something readers know well if they've read any previous issues of X-O Manowar. Considering the fact that this series is on it's last story arc, Vendetti made a very interesting decision to make this issue so new reader friendly. Perhaps he was expecting the final arc of Valiant's longest running comic is high-profile enough to gain some new eyes. Regardless, the story works as a culmination of the past 46 issues in a way that should be enjoyable by new readers as well.

There's an interesting moment where a Vine family brings one of Aric's people, a young boy who befriended a young Vine child, with them as they flee. We don't know how far the the Vine are going, but if they do leave the Earth completely, it would hint at some kind of future significance and be a nice callback to Aric's origin

Part of the fun of reading monthly comics is wondering what's going to come next. And while the story is a bit light here, the art is very well done. The issue does more than enough to make me curious about the next issue and given the great balance of exposition, action, and looming threat, the story is shaping up to give Valiant's flagship title a fitting send off.







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About the Author - Mike Ambrose


Mike Ambrose isn't slow, he's just Canadian. Mike began collecting comics in 1991 with an allowance earned by doing chores on the family farm, snapping up anything that said "#1 Collector's Item" on the cover, including X-Men, Sleepwalker, and NFL Superpro. That is to say, Mike knows bullshit. These skills were further developed and finally acknowledged when he graduated from a well-regarded journalism and public relations college program. Mike lives in a surprisingly nice house in a pretty good neighbourhood with his loving girlfriend. Aside from comic books of all types, Mike enjoys cooking, rap music, and the rule of threes.
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