The issue opens in space, starting with a ship in flight and moving the ring of abandoned material left by the Vine in their failed invasion attempt. Naturally, everyone is trying to gather as much of the good stuff as they can, and in this case, the Chinese are busy looking to see what active weapons they can find. This is one of the better aspects of the X-O Manowar and Unity books: The extraterrestrial events are having ongoing, international consequences. Also a plus: Colonel Capshaw may be on everyone’s least-favorite list right now, but she’s also right. Someone needs to check out disturbances in space, and Aric is not only a good candidate for such actions, he is also the one who came close to starting a nuclear war on Earth. Keeping him on a leash is not such a bad idea under the circumstances. That said, the exchange between her and Aric at the beginning is one of my favorite pieces of an issue that reminded me all over again why I love this book. In short, Venditti has created a strong start to what promises to be a tense, exciting and, best of all, character-driven tale. Even the minor characters here clearly have reasons for their actions, and those reasons make sense in context. Well, one character’s motivations are not yet clear, but he’s clearly driven and I can’t wait to find out by what.
Bernard is in top form for this issue, creating everything from a quiet Visigoth camp to a deep space junk yard to a battle between well-matched opponents. He also creates a variety of personalities here, again giving the sense of a wide world with multiple viewpoints, not necessarily ones that can be clearly divided into “entirely right” and “entirely wrong.” Do pay special attention to title spread with Aric heading out into space. With Earth half obscured by the jagged space junk, the scene is beautiful and ominous at once. The entire space sequence (most of the comic) is noteworthy.