Sunday, 6 April 2014

XO Manowar Volume 5: At War With Unity Review (Robert Venditti, Cary Nord)

Aric and his Visigoths have annexed part of Romania to become their new home - a move which startles the rest of the world who sees their arrival on a Vine ship as the beginning of an alien invasion. And when Aric defeats a Russian attack with the XO Manowar armour, Toyo Harada, the Harbinger, decides to assemble a team called Unity to take him out, comprising of himself, Livewire, Ninjak and the Eternal Warrior. It’s XO Manowar vs. Unity!

Robert Venditti’s XO Manowar series is one of those near-perfect comics runs that are so rare to see but the fifth volume’s quality is heavily affected by the Unity Event making it an incredibly choppy read. Individually there’s nothing wrong with the issues in this book, but collectively they’re a jumpy series of episodes that someone not reading the other Valiant series, Unity, would have a devil of a time understanding.

This is how the book reads: 1) in the wake of the first attack by Unity, Aric’s leadership is challenged by a fellow Visigoth, Volo, 2) Aric has lost Shanhara which is now being controlled by Livewire as the Vine ship with Unity and the Visigoths on board sinks to the bottom of the ocean, 3) Aric and the Visigoths are prisoners in a “detention centre”, 4) Aric and the Visigoths are now free and have been given a parcel of land in Nebraska - in return Aric now works for Colonel Jamie Capshaw and MERO (Military Extraterrestrial Recon Outpost).

Not exactly a linear narrative, right? That’s because these are issues that fit in between the Unity issues rather than form a cohesive story on their own. If you’ve been reading Unity then fine, you’ll be able to fill in the blanks, but if not and you’re just following XO Manowar, then you’re going to wonder what the hell’s happening in between chapters!

Venditti’s writing and Cary Nord’s art are both as fantastic as ever so the issues themselves still look and read well. But as a collection, this one fails for being too scattered and messy a read, otherwise I’d be rating it as highly as the other volumes in the series. Crossovers ruin everything, guys, that’s why so much of DC’s output stinks!

X-O Manowar Volume 5: At War With Unity TP

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