"X-O Manowar" #3 wraps up the introductory aspect of series and propels the narrative forward in a way sure to engage the reader and challenge the protagonist. This title has been thoroughly enjoyable and this issue continues the trend with large-scale action alongside dynamic character interplay.
"X-O Manowar" #3 contains an amazing suit of armor capable of unimaginable miracles, an alien race that collects species to turn them into slaves strives to quell an uprising and the expanse of space as the setting for violence and barbaric force. However, it's protagonist Aric of Dacia that makes it all come together. Robert Venditti has not forgotten what makes Aric tick and as a result, the end of this issue has a great bang to it. Aric is a strange man in a strange land and at issue’s end he is propelled into unfamiliar territory when he wants to return to the status quo. Aric's turmoil is the lynchpin for the entire issue.
With big action and vibrant flow, Venditti works with Cary Nord to ensure the choreography is well handled, resulting in fast-paced pages and dangerous cargo. Venditti and Nord build dramatic tension into the menacing punches and bright laser beams. Letterer Dave Lanphear does an amazing job of accentuating points and draws together a unified flow of design from varied fonts and sizes. Lanphear uses a multitude of techniques to punctuate emotion in character voices and levels of awesome in certain moments. His work positively stands out and seamlessly does its job without intruding.
"X-O Manowar" #3 finally pitches the larger concept of the series. Readers spent the first two issues getting Aric into the armor and this issue shows both the advantages and possible consequences. By the final pages, the larger narrative is gets a visible, promising direction -- dramatic action, a character you completely feel for and a high concept that offers many amazing options. "X-O Manowar" is the jewel in the Valiant relaunch and is in no danger of slowing its momentum.