What happens when X-O Manowar sleepwalks? Does Shanhara dream of E.T. electric sheep? The answers to these questions and more in X-O Manowar #33.
Is it good?
X-O Manowar #33 (Valiant Entertainment)
Dream flashback to 5th century AD. Back when X-O Manowar was a Visigoth prince named Aric of Dacia. Back when his hobbies included killing Romans, going for long horseback rides in the second saddle seat and stargazing on grassy knolls with lady friend Deidre.
Sorry Saana. Guess you’re not the woman of his dreams after all. Here’s some cab fare.
Who says there’s not enough room in a single comic book issue nowadays to craft a cogent story? Writer Robert Venditti gifts us with a narrative full of romance, depth and intrigue in less than 30 pages and gives us a striking glimpse into X-O’s love life sixteen centuries ago… which will surely end in some kind of crushing tragedy.
Aric’s gal pal Deidre isn’t just some damsel in distress, though. She reminds me of Murron MacClannough, William Wallace’s wife from Braveheart, only feistier. Especially poignant is the conversation she and Aric share while stargazing. “Do you ever wonder?” she asks him. “The sky. The stars. What lies beyond?” He brushes her off. “I have enough concerns here on the ground,” and “I have little interest in such things.” If only you knew Aric.
Rafa Sandoval and crew’s art (David Garcia Cruz on coloring and Jordi Tarragona on ink duties, respectively) are top notch. Sandoval brings unique camera angles, close-ups and long shots that are epic in nature and really augment the title with a cinematic feel. Slavering horses charging headlong at the reader; Roman legions falling by arrow salvos; X-O returning to the temple where he and his armor bonded; all good stuff made even better by Sandoval’s striking art.
Is It Good?
Though the crux of X-O Manowar #33 is a flashback to Aric of Dacia’s 400 AD days, Venditti manages to add another layer of depth to our protagonist that should prove conducive for the unraveling storyline ahead.
The issue also ends on a fairly intriguing note and raises questions as to the true nature of Shanhara, the X-O Manowar itself. A good jumping on point for new readers as well. Snag it.