It has taken 29 issues, but this series has finally made a hero out of X-O Manowar. Don’t believe me? Well, read the review and find out: is it good?
X-O Manowar #29 (Valiant Entertainment)
This issue takes place after Armor Hunters #4 so go read that first. I’ll wait.
Right. So this issue opens with Malgam imprisoned thanks to Bloodshot over in his tie-in. LA has been turned to rubble and our heroes are licking their wounds. X-O is asked for some help with Malgam however, because his pesky suit is way too powerful to contain. This issue is about X-O and Malgam, their new friendly relationship and what it takes to make the suits safe.
Robert Venditti writes a solid comic here as we see how X-O Manowar has changed and ultimately how Malgam will change in future Valiant books. What do I mean by that? Well, we finally get a reason to put “X-O” in the Manowar character: it stands for executive officer. Yes, I’m so ignorant I didn’t know that, but considering he’s never been in such a position until now it finally makes sense. The emotional thrust of the issue really comes from Malgam though, and if you haven’t been reading these books it’ll be lost on you. That’s because Malgam is a tortured character and gets even further torture in this issue. X-O tries to stop it, which gives him a heroic deed to accomplish, but at the end of it all it creates a new dynamic between them that’ll be interesting to explore in future issues.
Small gripes include X-O Manowar swearing to Malgam “as king,” as if Malgam would care, and the ease at which the virus is cured, but they are minimal.
The art by Diego Bernard is solid as ever with plenty of striking splashes and brutal and pained expressions from Malgam. It all pays off later when Malgam cracks a smile, not only imbuing a sense of hope for the character but giving his story a semi-happy ending. The opening shot of the hazmat-suited men is pretty special too. It’s epic, interesting and even scary. It perfectly sets up the vulnerability Malgam must be feeling by showing the force that’s seeking him out.
Is It Good?
X-O, and more importantly Malgam, get a new direction and it’s clear, concise and interesting. Good stuff.