Review: X-O Manowar #8 by Robert Venditti and Lee Garbett

Review:  X-O Manowar #8          

“Vauxhall Cross”

Written by Robert Venditti

Art by Lee Garbett

Coloured by Moose Baumann

The Plot

Flashback to 402 A.D. and Aric is arguing with his uncle about the battle at the beginning of the first issue.  Aric is chastised for being too arrogant and headstrong and essentially lacking the wisdom needed to become a good leader.  Back to the present at the MI-6 building and Clement is verbally lashing out at Ninjak for not going to Caracas for the armour.  Ninjak reveals that he did indeed bring the armour to him just as Clement sees the green light approaching the building.  Clement then gives the orders for the other plants to eliminate any humans at the scene.  They manage to get the upper hand on X-O, but Ninjak continues to fight them on the inside.  He confronts  Clement and tells him that his allegiance is to the human race.  X-O and Ninjak then face the Vine together and ultimately overcome the numbers.  They discuss their uneasy alliance and they make their getaway as British forces arrive.  A few days later and Ninjak (in his regular clothes) approaches Neville and provides him with some important information.  Over in Manhattan Alexander goes to a gathering only to find that there’s a change in his relationship with the Vine.  Alexander awakens to find that X-O has saved his life.  In deep space, Admiral Xylem is continuing his journey to Earth and is now accelerating their approach to invade.

The Breakdown

I really enjoy the flashbacks.  It reminds me that Aric is just caught up in the battle with the Vine and is still the loneliest guy on the planet.  He’s constantly been on the offensive and defensive ever since he’s returned to earth and hasn’t really had the time to deal with everything.  His uncle provided some good insight and valid criticisms about Aric as I’ve actually thought that throughout the series as well.  I like how the Vine refer to X-O as the Visigoth.  Not so much because it’s his heritage, but because I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any character referred to as a Visigoth before.  Ninjak had another solid outing as he was both honourable and merciless at the same time.  His weaponry was cool and his approach to confronting Clement was very much what I would’ve expected it to be.  Seeing X-O and Ninjak in action together was a great visual as they dispatched of their enemies.  I also liked how even in the face of Armageddon X-O and Ninjak still simply do not like one another.  They are allies because they have a common enemy, but are both eager to return to business as usual as soon as the Vine threat is abated.  I honestly expected them to gain an appreciation for one another and become bro’s, but this most definitely was not the case.  Alexander has truly sacrificed everything and this continues to make him more interesting as he could have easily had the chance to live in paradise elsewhere.  I’m really looking forward to seeing Xylem and his fleet confront X-O because he did not defeat them previously, he just managed to escape from them.  Garbett does action very well.  I enjoyed watching and understanding the entire battle.  So many times I’ll read a book and get lost in confusing action layouts.  Up next is the prologue for Planet Death and this story keeps powering along.

BUT…

In previous issues, it appeared as though Ninjak’s eyes were of an Asian background.  However, in his plain clothes look in this issue, he kind of appeared to be Caucasian in a couple of panels.  I’m not sure what his ethnicity is exactly (normally I wouldn’t really think about it, but it’s just that I thought it was one and then the other).  In the preview for the next issue, it looks like one of the Mongolians is being interrogated by the Vine from the first two issues.  I wish it was Gafti.  I didn’t like his sudden death in the third issue.

Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?

Buy It big time.  This part of the story concludes and it provides a satisfactory ending for it while still leading to Planet Death.  I can’t stand it when one story just basically serves as a lead-in to a bigger story (or arc) without offering any resolutions.  This felt like its own story and it gave us some answers and closure on some things.  There hasn’t been a letdown yet in this comic and I’m excited to see where it goes from here.  I have nothing but high recommendations for this book.

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