There will be some minor spoilers in this review
This issue is yet another example of why X-O MANOWAR is consistently one of the best books on the shelves. It's a brilliant mixture of fantastic storytelling and brutal violence. Aric learns more and more about the Vine and the fact that it's not just humans they've enslaved. It's numerous species from numerous planets. Their hold is bigger than anyone realized.
Writer Robert Venditti does a fine job at, month after month, putting together a well paced book that never leaves the reader wondering "did I miss something?" It's clear and concise, and he always finds a way to work in an extremely brutal, yet fulfilling, act of violence, like when Aric crushes someone's skull, behind him, without looking as he slices someone's throat right in front of him. That's right, I put a spoiler block on that because it's epic in words, but much more epic on the page.
On top of all of that, we get to see some insanely brutal action sequences as Aric rips through members of the Vine. It's a brilliant sequence, and while I've been a bit critical of Cary Nord's art on previous issues, his work on issue #13 is utter brilliance. The two-page spread of the Vine approaching Aric and the other slaves is fantastic. Set-up wise, it's executed beautifully and really conveys a sense of danger to the reader.
Very satisfying ending to this issue. At first, this arc feels like it's going to be short and sweet, but as we see at the end here, nothing is as simple as it seems at first. I love seeing Aric, who is more of a warrior than anything else, have to deal with complex problems with no simple solution. It seems like it all may be too much for him, but he finds a way to come out on top.
I really didn't have a problem with this issue. I am actually surprised that this book is always great. It never has an "ok" issue.
Ok, I found a downside to this book. It's not new reader friendly right now. You're going to be completely lost. You have to start at the beginning. Luckily, trades exist and so does Comixology, so there shouldn't be any problems.
I feel like the broken record of truth, right now. "Buy X-O MANOWAR! You'll love it!" There's a reason I say this book is amazing, every single month because it's one of my favorite reads, right along side ARCHER & ARMSTRONG. This is a fantastic issue that mixes story and brutality extremely well, with some solid art from Cary Nord. There's no excuse to not be reading this series. This should be on your pull list.
Overall, I highly, as always, recommend this book.