The Vine heads to Earth and Admiral Xylem has a bone to pick with Aric. Meanwhile, Alexander, who was banished from the Vine collective meetings, tries to find an inside man to give him information. We also get to see a new power from the X-O Manowar armor. It's the prelude to an epic event, and there's a ton of stuff going no here, as well as some fantastic action.
Why talk about the story when we can talk about how awesome the armor is? It's revealed that the armor has another power that completely changes the upcoming war between the Vine and Aric. Hopefully, that's not the only secret contained within the armor. We get a much greater sense, especially during the fight scenes, or how tough this armor is as well. It's going to take a lot more than simple laser blasts to bring it down.
This was a fantastic kick off to this upcoming story line. It's a perfect blend of set-up and conflict. Just from the opening pages, you can tel the Vine means business and they're willing to go to some extreme lengths to get the answers they want. It's a pretty dark opening, which sets a great tone for the rest of the issue.
Writer Robert Venditti does a fantastic job with not only the story, but with the dialogue during the scene when Aric finds out what the new Manowar power is, he has a great back and forth banter with Admiral Xylem, as well as the rest of the Vine. t's a big stand-out moment in the issue that is dialogue driven, and it works perfectly on its own and as a catalyst to the war with the Vine.
Venditti and artist Trevor Hairsine put together one fantastic battle scene between Aric and members of the Vine, including Admiral Xylem. We get some sweet "Paff Paff," and a really awesome "Zzzrsh." If you've never read X-O MANOWAR before, you're probably confused. What I am saying is that we are treated to some fantastic action and we get to see new ways for people to die in battle. While "Gut Grenade" is still my favorite (from issue five), I loved seeing a Vine member get cut with a laser sword. The action in this book is top notch.
My only real problem with this issue is the art. I found the few close ups on characters to be a bit awkward, since the faces didn't seem right. Hairsine's other work here is good, but most of the time, it works much better when it's medium shots and farther on these characters. To give Hairsine a bit more credit, there are two back-to-back close-up shots of Aric, while he's in the Collective, that showcase how awesome Hairsine can do close-ups, one profile, followed by a straight on close-up.
X-O MANOWAR punches you in the face with awesomeness then suplexes you into oblivion with amazement. I love the kick off to this new story, and while there is a ton of stuff going on in this issue, it's never overwhelming, and the flow and pacing are great here.
Sure, I had a small problem with the art, in certain sections, but I'm so engaged with this story that it doesn't matter. I love the fight scenes here and the dialogue is great. The new power the armor displays in this issue is a big turning point in this upcoming war, and I'm very excited to see where this story line goes.
As always, I highly recommend (demand) you read this comic and issue.
Make sure to check out Comic Vine's interview with Robert Venditti about X-O MANOWAR and Planet Death here!