Overview

X-O Manowar #11

Review

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X-O Manowar #11

Credits

  • Words: Robert Venditti
  • Art: Cary Nord
  • Colors: Moose Baumann
  • Story Title: Planet Death: Part One
  • Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Mar 20, 2013

The return of Cary Nord heralds the beginning of Aric of Dacia’s bold, new quest – as conqueror…

Time-displaced and fresh off of the loss of his best friend Gafti, Aric of Dacia, the current bearer of Shanhara – better known as the X-O Manowar armor – sets his sights on the Vine homeworld in the first chapter of "Planet Death."

One of this book’s strongest qualities is its ability to move beyond the past while still paying tribute to the original artistic vision. Both Robert Venditti and Cary Nord are well aware of the groundbreaking work that came before them yet neither is content to let the book rest on the laurels of its well-respected alternative-mainstream pedigree.

For his part, Venditti endeavors to craft a character-driven sci-fi epic, laying down another multi-faceted piece of Vine mythology, as he explores the origins of Shanhara. The first half of the book recounts the parable of Shanhara’s first bearer who, in a nice bit of irony, frees his planet from a seemingly invincible race of interstellar invaders. Ultimately, this act precipitates and lays the foundation for what will eventually become the Vine, themselves brutal conquerors.

Conquering is also something Aric is well versed in. As the heir of the Visigoths, his uncle put the fear of the gods into the Romans, while his generation suffered under their oppression. It’s no wonder then that Aric hatches a scheme to use the Vine’s own sacred armor against them, in effect invading the invaders; conquering the conquerors.
 
Nord’s welcome return to X-O’s pages only serves to underline the vacuum left in the wake of his hiatus. That isn’t to take away anything from the stalwart talent who attempted to fill the void but this is Cary Nord – the man’s just not operating on the same level as even your high-end everyday journeyman artist. There’s a quality of composition evident in his work, from the layouts to the illustrated borders to the exquisite finishing brushwork that not only pushes this book into the upper echelons of mainstream comics but provides much of its unique identity.

Hard-hitting, subtly complex, and lushly illustrated, X-O Manowar easily gives any mainstream superhero book published by Marvel and DC a run for its money.

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