There’s never a dull moment in X-O Manowar. In X-O Manowar #22, Aric has had his armor returned and been granted a homeland for his people. It’s time to settle down to enjoy the fruits of victory and perhaps try peace for a while, right?
Not for Aric. It turns out the U. S. government, or at least some significant faction of it, wants him to work for them, and they have the leverage they need. At least, they do for now. It is hard to picture the situation remaining stable for too long, which is part of what makes these books so gripping: The question “What next?” is never easy to answer. Too, one wonders what, if anything, Unity will have to say about the state of affairs. In the meantime, it makes for a tense standoff and a continuing balancing act for the would-be hero, Aric, a man who confesses, “This is not my own time. It is your time. I do not know what makes a hero now” while getting a new education in different forms of villainy.
Mind, as fascinating as this is, it does strain the credulity at points. I know that evil government agencies with nearly unlimited power are a common trope, but after a while, I do start to wonder at their extent, reach, and ruthlessness. One does not have to believe everyone an upright and honest citizen to wonder whether anyone would actually sanction some of these maneuvers; self-interest, if nothing else, might cut in somewhere. That said, it’s unclear where Venditti is taking this. There have been tense standoffs before, nor is everything always what it seems in X-O Manowar.
Nord continues to use a rough, almost unfinished pencil style at the beginning, smoothing out as the book continues. The rougher, sketched out scene at the beginning where Livewire gives back Aric’s armor is an His work on the spaceship is loving and finished as is the polished scene of a fully-armored Aric underwater. Machinery takes priority here.
To no one’s surprise, X-O Manowar remains a book to watch, and the month between issues can never go too quickly.