Review - X-O Manowar #4

Sometimes, you just can't catch a break. Like when a fabled alien suit of armor chooses to merge with you, painting a bullseye on your back and wreaking general havoc on your life. Such is the case in X-O Manowar #4 from Valiant Comics.

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 Doug Braithwaite and Don Kramer.

Aric of Dacia is no longer of Dacia in the temporal sense, seeing as how he's advanced sixteen centuries into the future somehow. Of course, having the sacred armor of Shanhara helps his cause greatly. After a slight skirmish with modern day armed forces, Aric is faced with the reality of his current predicament. One that includes grave misunderstandings on all sides.

Meanwhile, the Vine continue to hunt the armor, with there being a divide as to how to deal with it. The military side wants to destroy it, while the religion side wants to preserve and study it. Whatever happens though will likely come courtesy of Alexander, an individual on Earth tasked with bringing Aric in.

After a torrid start to the series, X-O Manowar #4 slows things down a bit. Venditti is pushing Aric down a path of discovery and fear. He's learning about his new life and powers, while also showcasing fear of what he's being faced with. He's not scared per se, but it's a lot to skip 16 centuries and not realize it.

The story is leveling off and completely pitting Aric against the Vine. It's a solid confrontation between two sides quickly digging in that will likely lead to some very ridiculous battles. Aric has already shown he can handle a missile or two in a scene very reminiscent of the first Iron Man scene in Iron Man.

Nord's pencils are fantastic. The Vine aren't really anything to spectacular, but Aric is illustrated as a beast. The battle sequence at the beginning of the issue was well laid out, providing a clear look at all the action. There weren't any panels that were too confusing, which is always a good thing.

Gaudiano's inks further emphasize the strong art, helping the characters pop. Baumann's colors do an equally fantastic job of making the action jump off the page, with the X-O Manowar suit a vibrant mix of blue and yellow.

X-O Manowar #4 is just the latest issue in a strong series. Venditti and Nord are getting settled in and Aric is going to be facing some intense challenges in the coming issues. It's one of those series that you'll be happy you're reading, so if you're not already then get on it.

X-O Manowar #4 is in stores August 29 with interiors below.