Review - X-O Manowar #2

Everyone loves a good prison break. The intrigue, the drama, the action. Rebelling against your captors to fight for your freedom. Aric is in such a predicament, but by the end of X-O Manowar #2 from Valiant Comics, his fortunes are about to change.

The second issue is written by Robert Venditti, penciled by Cary Nord, inked by Stefano Gaudino, colored by Moose Baumann and lettered by Dave Lanphear (covers by Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic and Arturo Lozzi.

Aric of Dacia is facing imprisonment only for the sake of being a strong and capable warrior. He's imprisoned by an alien race called the Vine, who are using warriors like Aric for cultivating their species. Aric plays the Cool Hand Luke, being the champion of the prisoners and rallying them for an escape.

Venditti's story has sort of slammed to a halt in the second issue. The first issue featured Aric on the battlefield, followed immediately by the mystery surrounding his alien captors. In the second issue, it's more Aric, but it's mainly portraying him as someone defying authority.

It's not a bad thing, but this just isn't a very eventful issue. The bulk of it features the Vine showing off their status as captors, forcing the warriors to serve the procreation of their race through gardening or death. It's Aric's bullheadedness that spurs the prisoners to escape and the inevitable donning of the Shanhara armor.

Nord's pencils are pretty well done. He's got a handle on the Vine, depicting them as an insect-like race who gardens life. Aric and the warriors get to flex some combat skills and Nord handles the fight scenes well. The final, full-panel shot is very triumphant and portends trouble for the Vine.

The second issue of a series tends to slow down the pace from the first and X-O Manowar #2 is no exception. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but the pacing of the story feels slower after the frenetic rush of the first. There was a lot of hype tied to the first issue as well which seeped through into the issue.

The reader finally gets to see X-O Manowar in action and the third issue will likely step up the pace yet again. It's a worthwhile read as it moves the pieces into place for the series to play out.

X-O Manowar #2 is in stores June 6 with interiors below.