Saturday, May 18, 2013

X-O Manowar #13 Review

X-O Manowar #13 Review
By: Jay

Our Story So Far

The Shanhara is being held in the Hall of Council as they send General Axil’s battalade to lay waste to the Human Slave Encampment. Aric is still healing from the previous issue when the battalade begins their attack. Vowing that no more Visigoth will die, Aric summons Shanhara and takes on Axil’s men.

Robert Venditti really does a great job telling the story of a gladiator space adventure. Iron Man recently tried to do this with the “The Godkiller” story arc, but failed. Venditti really gives us that setting, even by making Loam feel like Ancient Rome, a planet built by enslaving other races conquered by the Vine. The story is very character-driven while maintaining the action that the name of the series implies.

Venditti makes you feel for Aric, we feel his pain, and we are inspired by his spirit. The only fault I found with the story was the fight scene could have lasted at least two more pages. While Shanhara is a tremendous weapon, the previous issue had it taken down by a smaller army. Then in this issue Axil and his battalade are easily defeated within a few panels.

While the story is strong and solid, the art is sketchy and at times blurry. Cary Nord’s art is good, but I don’t think it does the story justice. Art and story should be a seamless unity, where the art grips you and brings you into story. Here the art kind of takes you out of the story. The alien faces seem to blur together at times making them nothing more than indistinguishable cannon fodder, even the ones that are playing key roles in the story don’t stand out.

The lack of detail kills the momentum of the story. You can really see how it hurts the book in two major scenes. The first one is when we see General Axil’s battalade storming the slave encampment. This could have been an epic scene showing the Vine troops storming the encampment. Instead, we got blurry generic alien robots and extremely blurry troops. The Vine has three sets of eyes and ant-like pinchers, yet the eyes look like cranial ridges and the pinchers are un-noticeable. The second scene is when Aric summons Shanhara and the armor is enveloping him in mid-air, but the scene loses its WOW moment because the armor looks like confetti. Both scenes should have been those moments that pumped you up, but the lack of detail just had me glossing over them.

I think this book could really thrive with a more detailed-oriented art style like a Steven McNiven, Tony S Daniel, or to go to the Iron Man “The Godkiller” arc artist Greg Land style. Nord is not a bad artist, but the art and the story should fit together, and with this book the art style hinders the story. I think Nord’s art would thrive in a crime drama type book.

I say pick up the book. While the art isn’t right for this book the story is strong enough to engage you and keep you interested. Now you know what I think about this book. Let us know what you think in the comments and follow us on Twitter to get the latest news and reviews from Comic Frontline.

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