Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Trevor Hairsine
Colored by Brian Reber
Review by Adam Shaw
Valiant’s first big “blockbuster” event, Planet Death, begins its two-part prelude in issue #9 of X-O Manowar. This event will last for six issues, and it is the culmination of events from the previous eight issues. I’m looking forward to the more sci-fi elements of this arc and watching Aric leave Earth again.
X-O Manowar is one of those series that is a slow burn, but it has still been an eventful comic so far. This issue is no exception and still delivers with depth and plenty of action. Just like every other month, Venditti peels back just enough layers to slake our thirst with progressions and reveals that never feel overwhelming. With this first part of the prelude we find out a bit more of just why the Shanhara armor is a threat to the Vine’s empire. Aric’s vendetta to kill all of the Vine is also given pause by the end of the issue in a typical comic book cliffhanger.
The series’ regular artist, Cary Nord, is off for the two-issue prelude. Standing in is Trevor Hairsine who gives us a slightly different style of art, but one that fits in with that of the previous issues. Hairsine’s line work has a very raw feel to it. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I personally like it. Our hero, Aric, is very raw and unrefined to our modern ways, so I find it an appropriate fit. Reber’s use of grey tones in the background are a nice contrast to the brightly colored armor of the Vine commando’s and Aric’s manowar armor. This is war, and everything isn’t supposed to be pretty.
Issue #9 is an engaging read and Venditti continues to progress the story organically. If you have been following X-O Manowar then you should BUY this. There is a lot of depth and development in the culture and theology of the Vine. This is what everything has been building towards, and it is only going to get crazy, awesome, and totally fun over the rest of Planet Death. It’s a generic, cliché event name, and Valiant knows it. It tells you exactly what you need to know. There is going to be destruction and it’s going to be fun. This is Valiant’s flagship book. If you read any of their books, this should be it.
Jumping on point: This is probably the best point to jump on X-O Manowar. It’s the start of a new arc that will be lasting through the next five issues. The opening recap page will give you what you need to enjoy this story.