Review - X-O Manowar #3

The saying goes "now we're cooking with fire." In X-O Manowar #3 from Valiant Entertainment, Aric just so happens to be cooking with fire, laser beams, indestructable armor and a host of other special abilities. Yeah, it's getting intense.

The issue is written by Robert Venditti, with pencils by Cary Nord, inks by Stefano Gaudiano, colors by Moose Baumann, letters by Dave Lanphear and covers by Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic and Mico Suayan.

If there were any doubts about the powers of the armor Aric unwillingly dons, they were quickly put to rest in this issue. The majority of the issue is Aric and his mates cutting through the aliens on the Vine ship, seeking an escape.

What that entails is Aric firing blasts from his hands, regenerating and taking heavy artillery to the chest. Anyone who thought this armor wasn't powerful was proven wrong in this issue. The beauty of the issue is where it ends, setting Aric (and the series) up for even crazier scenarios.

Venditti spent a lot of time showcasing the armor in this issue and it's a credit to him the variety of ways he does so. He manages to make the armor just as much a character as Aric is, as it seems to have an instinctive mind of its own for self-preservation.

The Vine are portrayed as ruthless aliens who show no respect at all for humans. Of course, it's that hubris that hurts them more than Aric, another great aspect of this issue. Aric shares a pride with the aliens found in most warriors and it was great seeing it pitted against one another.

Nord's pencils are great, accented by Gaudiano's inks and Baumann's colors. This is a very action-packed issue, so most of the scenes are battles. These battles range in scale, but all are depicted very well, conveying to the reader the trials Aric faces trying to get off the ship.

There's a lot going for X-O Manowar #3. It's setting up a strong series, with very deliberate pacing by Venditti and great art by the artistic team. Aric's predicament at the end of the issue raises many questions and how he adapts will answer them.

X-O Manowar #3 is in stores July 18 with interiors below.