Writer: Robert Venditti
Art: Joe Bennett, Marcio Loerzer, Roberto de la Torre & Dean White
Color: Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT (June 2016)
The Torment have arrived and both humanity and the Vine combine forces to attack … as both Aric, Capshaw and Commander Trill lead their forces against the mythical threat. Yet … the war is only beginning and things change extremely quickly.
This is weird. Yet, this is something that has gone on for a while with Venditti. There are times where issues feel nice and meaty and sometimes where they feel too breezy. And while there is a lot of stuff that seemingly happens, the issue feels a little bit too breezy for all the epic. Also, after all the machinations and the various, Trill seems like a coward here. Motivations understandable, but something just felt very cowardly as to how he called a retreat. It kinda turned Trill into just an alien version of a normal trope we see.
There is clearly a LOT going on this issue, but Venditti juggles it well. From the beginning of the onslaught from the Torment, Venditti makes it clear that this isn’t going to be an easy fight for Aric, the Vine & G.A.T.E. There are a few big moments that pull at your heartstrings that Venditti plays with exquisite simplicity. Saana reminds readers why she is a worthy Queen of the Visigoths here in her few moments in the book. Venditti makes the brawl an epic first shot between G.A.T.E., the new Visigoths & the Vine vs. the Torment. And the Torment are a silent menace that seem to not be able to be beaten … which allows readers and the characters to feel fear that this conflict will not end well. The stakes are very high and this first skirmish costs Aric and his people a lot. Venditti allows the characters within the book to have a moment to shine. And while Aric is still the main focus of the book, his supporting characters get to have some good moments here, that Venditti ties together well.
The art for this book was superb. The prologue featuring the legends of the Torment was well rendered by de la Torre, White and Arreola. White’s inks definitely helped give de la Torre a shaper, cleaner texture to his work in that prologue. Arreola’s vibrant colors also gave the work a grace and flare that stands out … making de la Torre’s pencils look much different from what they looked like in his Death-Defying Doctor Mirage work. Meanwhile, Bennett and Loerzer give us an outstanding show of distinctive detail, cinematic panel work and explosive acts of emotion & action that just jump at you. Bennett’s work is cleaner and sharper here. There is definitely seems like a fire in this work that just add more detail than he did during his time drawing Teen Titans in DC Comics several years ago. It’s crisp. Loerzer’s inks certainly amps up Bennett’s passionate pencils with his furious inks that really make the work stand out. Aric looks both regal & dangerous as the Valiant Hero and King that we known the entire time on this journey. Saana also never looked more regal than she did this issue as she called the evac. There’s just a heightened level of expression that does the book good. There are more than quite a few panels that were very cinematic in composition and scope, which makes the book that much more exceptional.
Long Live the King Part 1 more than lives up to the hype with an amazing epic with an enemy that could be the strongest Aric has ever faced. Venditti weaves the end of the Kill List into Long Live the King seamlessly as he tackles all the main characters into a desperate battle and plight. The art was superb with great detail and wonderful line work that was crisp. The colors were vibrant as ever. Besides the brevity of the issue and Trill’s Cobra Commander like retreat, it was a excellent start to the X-O Manowar storyline.