Seraph’s Super Sanctions: X-O MANOWAR “EXODUS”

X-O Manowar: Exodus TPB
Issues: #38 -#42
Release Date: January 13, 2016

Writer: Robert Venditti
Art: Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarrgona & more
Colors: Ulises Arreola

The Breakdown:

This review focuses on the Exodus storyline that ran through the pages of X-O Manowar #39- #42 as well as the wedding, which I already reviewed, in X-O Manowar # 38. To say that the first real test of the new King and Queen was a hard one would be an understatement. Racism, manipulations, betrayals, war trauma and a possible intergalactic war were all themes as Aric and Saana must lead their people as the Vine has come to Earth to find a new home with their trusted chosen one, Aric, to lead them. Yet, post-traumatic stress syndrome, racism and manipulation put the Vine and Humanity almost at war.

The Bad:
I am starting off the review with the bad because this is a large story. Yet, because of the story and the actual themes in it, the only real misstep, and I would say that lightly, would be more of the conflict of the human survivors from Loam facing their former slavers. There is some mention from it but it is dropped because of everything else that happens during the course of the story.

The Good:
I can honestly say that this story, right here, is one of Venditti’s greatest stories he’s ever written. With all the particular themes that were mentioned earlier, Venditti weaves them all well to make a cinematic story that also has tremendous development for not only our lead, but for many of the supporting cast. There is some natural evolution here of the characters, especially between Aric and Saana. Saana is proving every much the strong queen we’ve known to come since her first appearances in the series. Having the wedding issue actually fits perfectly with the rest of the storyline because we see Saana take her role with a grace we haven’t seen in comics in some time. Aric and Saana are magically every time they are in a panel together. I haven’t seen these level of chemistry with a couple since Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. Venditti also clearly brings up the various faces of racism and handles it with such care and natural flair that it makes it feel papable. Venditti paces the story extremely well, making use of every page to really bring out the best of the Vine coming to asylum and things going wrong. The Conel, the Vine Priest and the rest of Commander Trill were all really handled amazingly. Even the tension between Aric’s New Visigoths subjects dealing with their former slavers seemed extremely natural. The fact that the main hero does the least amount of fighting short of women and children as well as coming up with a powerful conclusion was magnificent.

Sandoval’s art is absolutely stunning. He really gives some of the best art of his career, with unique perspectives and a great mix of both dramatic tight panels to cinematic panels with all sorts of Vine, Humans, plans, space ships and battles. Tarragona’s inks and Arreola’s colors was simply amazing. There is so much that is done with the art as Arreola makes the colors look truly stunning. There is very intricate detail that Tarragona makes sure that Sandoval’s pencils look their best.

Best Moment:
In all the moments in this storyline, Aric making his choice after taking advice from his wife and from the priest, his stopping the conflict is amazing.

The Verdict:

Honestly. The art is stunning. The writing is clearly some of Venditti’s best writing. There is a lot said in this four part that can resonate with everyone, but it is great that Venditti gives the best conclusion to the story. It was a true evolution of Saana, Capshaw, the Priest and Aric were really amazing to read through. We got an ending that we didn’t quite see coming. Brilliant writing with superb art that will make you think and make you cheer.