What a fantastic wrap-up to this first story arc. The first battle is over, only to reveal the Vine has a much more sinister plan for Earth. Basically, we get to see Aric take out all of his anger on MI-6 and Clement. The events that take place here will get you cheering as members of the Vine are taken down one by one.
This issue is jam pack with some awesome action sequences. We get some great scenes of Aric blowing up MI-6, while Ninjak infiltrates from inside. With the edition of Alexander, a member of the Vine, this issue ends up being a pretty fantastic team-up book. Although this alliance is an uneasy one (Hey! That's the title of issue 7), it works out extremely well. Each character has their defined place in this world and they're all incredibly important to the story and the progression of it. On top of all of that, I like these characters a lot. In fact, they're some of my favorites in the indy world of comics right now.
I loved the ending to the issue. It's a fantastic set-up for the next story, and writer Robert Venditti raises the bar for where this story is going next. While the Vine may have been easy to beat on Earth, you catch a glimpse of how powerful these aliens truly are. Venditti has established all of these characters extremely well, and any new reader will find themselves quickly immersed in this world and story.
We get a couple of pages, right in the open, featuring Aric in his former life, back in 402 A.D. It's a short scene but it establishes that Aric isn't this perfect strategist, but he is willing to fight to the death for his cause. It's little moments like that really elevate this from a great book to an amazing book.
The are two pages, right after the end of the attack on MI-6 where the coloring looks a bit off. There's a lack of shading on these two pages and the characters lose a lot of depth. For the most part, there are only hard shadows. Overall, these couple of pages really feel like they're from a different book completely, which is a bit of a bummer since, story wise, it's a pretty big moment the reader needs to pay attention to.
X-O MANOWAR continues to be one of my favorite books. It's everything you want in a comic book: great story, full of action, and characters that are incredibly intriguing. This issue wraps up very nicely, and sets-up what looks like is going to be an amazing story starting next issue.
The only problem I had here was that a couple pages had coloring and shading that was a bit inconsistent with the rest of the issue.
Overall, this was really close to a perfect score, and I loved the issue, so I highly recommend it.