X-O Manowar is new, it’s action packed, with this issue it reboots the Valiant character Ninjak, and most importantly it hits stands today.
Issue #5 finds Aric quickly realizing that although this is Earth, he is definitely out of his time period, a lost soul with a bio-weapon and no lover or home to return to. While he hides in Peru, the Vine wastes no time and plants one of their men inside a stealth team sent into the jungles to try and take Aric out. As you can imagine, the awesome battle is intense, bloody, and filled with action, but the easy winner is Aric. At a loss, the Vine members, who have been working in secret as MI-6, decide to send in Ninjak, the penultimate ninja hit-man who always comes through on his job, to get the armor and bring back Aric for questioning. Jumping back to Peru, Aric has kept one of the stealth squad who attacked him earlier alive, and it turns out to be their Vine operative. Just as the questions start rolling, enter Ninjak….
The writing from Venditti flows at a great pace through a majority of the issue. We see Aric’s realization of how he’s out of his place, we get that great battle in Peru against the squad, and the introduction of Ninjak, all flowing really well from one into the other, building this great story for us. It’s really the end of the issue where a monkey wrench comes in, though. The battle between Aric and Ninjak can best be described as pretty short. You want more, but nope, you don’t get more. Some fans will argue it’s how it is supposed to be. Some fans will argue it feels nothing but a little anti-climatic, and you feel like you got the short end with a non-stop great title for 29 pages, that suddenly putters out in its last 3 pages. I can see the opposing views on this, and yes, people never consider there’s only so many pages a month to tell this tale, however, I’d be more with the second party and feel the issue flows fine until this abrupt end. Art wise, loving what Garbett is doing here, high-fives all the way for the stellar action kick-assery (yeah, I said kick-assery) he has brought to life on the page.
For the most part, until the very end, X-O Manowar #5 is a fairly solid issue that would have benefited by being double-sized to satisfy us wanting to see Ninjak and Aric really go at it in a big slam-bang. However, maybe we will get to see that epic fight soon enough in the future.