Aric and Malgam square off in one heck of a fight to start this issue off, which continues over from issue #23. What this fight really shows is that the reader, and Aric, will never fully know the extent or the power of the armor. This fight shows us that there's still some tricks up its sleeves and that it may even have the power to corrupt the person using it. This may be a set-up for something in the future. Writer Robert Venditti is always building towards something larger and giving readers little hints about the future of the book, which make it a much more interesting read.
There's one scene, in particular, that I loved. Aric returns home to New Darcia/Nebraska and Saana has something to show him, running water inside their tent. It may seem like almost a throwaway moment, but it's extremely important to the overall story. These characters are misplaced in time. They don't take for granted all the amazing things us contemporary folks have in our lives. The look on Aric's face, during this scene, is awesome.
If you've been seeing previews for Valiant's upcoming Armor Hunters, then you've probably been wondering who the characters are on the covers. Well, we're all introduced to them here, and they're pretty awesome. Gin-Gr, the giant, boxy robot is incredibly cool looking, as well as Primary, the armor hunter. Again, Venditti does a great job at continuing to build forward with this series.
Finally, the art from Diego Bernard, with Allison Rodriguez on inks, and Brian Reber on color is fantastic. It truly drives the story forward and it is nothing but pure eye candy. The final pages especially look awesome here. There is very little you can say bad about the look of this book.
The only real problem with the issue is that it just moves so quickly. The beats come at the reader so quick that it's hard to digest everything happening in the issue. It's a pretty good issue, overall, but it really felt like this, along with the last issue, could have been combine into one.
It's been two years now since the debut of X-O MANOWAR, and it's been two years on consistently brilliant storytelling on the part of Venditti. I honestly would have never thought this would become one of my favorite titles, but it never fails to please. This issue really pushes the story forward and onto the upcoming Armor Hunters story, while closing out the last two-part story. The writing is top notch and the art is beautiful. This is a book everyone should be reading as it is the top book Valiant is putting out. Overall, I highly recommend this issue.