Discovering the Valiant: X-O Manowar (2012) Vol. 2 and 3

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Reviewing these together but as one post. Great comic. I think the #PulpRevolution should pick up volumes 1-3 of this immediately as a primer of “how it should be done.”

X-O Manowar (2012) Vol. 2

This picks up right where the first volume left off, with a potential alien invasion from the Vine looming, their planted agents conspiring against Alric in present day Earth, chasing him down and sending agents who get torn apart by him immediately. He’s so feral, so ancient, and it shows that he does not give a damn about anyone or anything. A truly desperate situation for our hero. Eventually, one of the alien plants defects and helps Alric as Earth is threatened with impending doom because they can’t stand that the suit is here. MI-6 is controlled by the aliens, who send Ninjak to take him out — a really cool character and foe, then friend to Alric. Tons of action, super fast paced, even faster than the first volume in a lot of ways, and equally as decompressed as we’re now 8 issues in and alien invasion’s been threatened awhile, and still hasn’t happened. Despite that decompression — I love it. The action’s fun, the characters are there to care about, I find this story super engaging and want all 13 volumes immediately so I can binge. the only thing that bugs me is I’m 8 issues in and there’s no reason for this guy to be called X-O Manowar. Why not Adventures of Alric?

Art has stayed pretty much the same through this volume. Not much has stood out and wowed me, and yet I’ve got nothing to complain about as well. I didn’t even check if the artist stayed the same, it flowed smoothly and didn’t bug me regardless. I suppose the artist did a good job on the MI-6 fortress, as that stood out as memorable to me. A big building with giant guns.

Loving it, can’t wait for the next issue. 9/10

X-O Manowar (2012) Vol. 3

If I hadn’t made, based on a one-issue pick up of the relaunch of X-O Manowar, the decision to fall in love with a comic company and universe, I would have simply by picking up X-O Manowar’s last run and reading through this third volume. Wow. This is pure action pulp adventure at its finest. Everything clicks on high cylinders in the story. Epic prophecy. Epic alien armies. A man raising his own army from the ashes. Hot redhead. This is modern pulp and it’s beautiful. It concludes the first major story arc, and answers some good questions, and gives us some great background for the Vine where a lot of things make sense now. We also finally see the term Manowar, and that starts to make sense. I’m very happy with how this has gone story wise, and though I would have added a little more romance personally and developed Shaana a tad more, it’s near perfect.

The art has suffered a little bit. The first couple issues in this volume were a fill in artist who was again, fine and servicable. Cary Nord then came back for the rest of the issues and I have to say his detail started to lack. I don’t know if he’s rushing issues or what, but it’s noticeable in a lot of panels, especially if comparing to earlier issues by reading through in a binge read. His attention to action though to maintain the fast paced read pretty much does make up for this, however. It’s very story-communicative if that details not there, and so overall I wouldn’t champion this book for its art, but I’m satisfied.

A brilliant comic work. Will be difficult to top this. 9/10

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