June 8, 2012

Reviews

Tony’s Reviews: Harbinger #1 and X-O Manowar #2

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Tony Soldo is back for another review, this time to tell us his thoughts on X-O Manowar #1 and Harbinger #1

SPOILER ALERT! This review contains spoilers. If you haven’t read these issues, read them before reading these reviews! You’ve been warned.

Hey guys! I read X-O Manowar #2 and Harbinger #1 yesterday, and I’m sure it won’t surprise you to hear that I really enjoyed them! So, on to my reviews:

X-O Manowar #2

This issue didn’t really have the kick that the first one did, and it didn’t help my worry that these books are going to be decompressed, but despite that, I loved it. I don’t understand how this book does what has annoyed me about so many other comics yet it doesn’t bother me here.

aric loses his hand

Aric loses his hand

I’m fascinated by The Vine and their reverence for plants, I love how much characterization Venditti packs into Aric and Gafti, and the scene where he puts on the suit was fantastic. The most shocking thing, though, was Aric losing his hand. I did not see that coming at all. And the suit doesn’t heal it or anything, so I’m wondering if this is permanent, which would be ballsy as all hell, and I would greatly appreciate it.

The art by Cary Nord continues to shine here. Just like the first issue, Venditti doesn’t allow his writing to overshadow the art, and they work in beautiful harmony. The emotions and character beats are all drama expertly, and he excels when the action starts. It looks like he keeps track of which characters were fighting where, and everything flowed really well. Plus he showed off his ability to draw the Manowar armor, and it is indeed great.

Yet another great issue, and it looks like the book is now firmly planted in my pull list for the foreseeable future.

Harbinger #1

After sending my first review, and saying that I would like to keep doing Valiant reviews for this site, I started to wonder, “what if I didn’t like the others?” Well, that isn’t a problem here.

Valiant continues to impress me with Harbinger. The story is very interesting so far, with Peter Stanchek is more than just the average angst-ridden teenage character, he’s got much more depth. His relationship with his friend was fun, yet we see the darker side in him with what he does to Kris, which was terrible and shocking. It showed just how desperately he needed a mentor before things got even worse, and Toyo Harada appears at just the right time to help. He gets a great introduction here, and I can’t wait to meet other Harbingers as the series continues.

pete meets harada

Pete and Harada meet in the garden

Now, I’ll admit I didn’t like the art by Khari Evans as much as Cary Nord. At times, he was fantastic, able to portray emotions and character with great detail, the standouts in his art being the opening scene and the first meeting between Peter and Toyo. I’m not saying I didn’t like his art, I liked it a lot more than not, but it was inconsistent at times. My biggest nitpick in the entire book was Peter’s jacket. On the cover and in Peter’s first appearance, it looked like a normal, fine jacket, but after that, all the detail, liken the zipper and pockets disappear, and it just looks like he’s being eaten by an amorphous yellow blob the entire book. Hopefully they’ll fix that when he gets an actual uniform.

Overall, it was another fantastic first issue from Valiant, and I really can’t wait to be reading four of these books each month!

And one more thing

Also, one big thing that I really appreciate is that none of these books are using narration boxes or text panels to tell the story or show what the character is thinking. This is overused in comics, and it makes the artist less substantial because he/she isn’t allowed to really tell the story. In comics, writing and art need to work in tandem, and these Valiant books are really letting the artists shine without tons of words holding them back. We get so much characterization here just on the art and dialogue alone, it’s very impressive.

Also, both of these books feel very modern and mature, without the need to be overly gritty or violent. Sure there is violence, but is isn’t gratuitous and it feels shocking when it happens. These Valiant books are doing a much better job of being modern and mature than most of the DC reboot, which feels the need to make everyone a prick, angsty, and overly gritty and violent. It recalls the worst of the 90′s, while the Valiant relaunch feels very smart, well thought-out, and mature without being gratuitous. I tip my hat to them!

Bring on Bloodshot!!! I can’t wait for June!!!

You can catch Tony’s review of X-O Manowar #1 right here, and if you are twitterese, follow him there.

6 Comments

  • Excellent reviews! We’re happy to have you contributing here.

    You mentioned the decompression, especially in X-O, and that it didn’t bother you. I felt the same way. I think, in some ways, this comic isn’t actually that decompressed, it is just disguised as a decompressed story. The first time I read through X-O #2, I could feel the strain, and the feeling of being worn down over time as we saw Aric work in the garden. What kept it going and relevant to me was that even when we weren’t seeing tons of action, we were learning a lot about the characters, both Aric, and the Vine, and there was plenty of that packed in this issue.

    Can’t wait for next issue though, looks like some Vine heads are gonna roll!
    Sean recently posted..The Working DeadMy Profile

  • Tony Soldo (@Tony_Soldo) comments:

    I’m really glad that you guys are enjoying these reviews. Do you plan to have the Only The Valiant crew put up their reviews of these books too?

    Also, I can’t wait for the Dysart interview this weekend.

  • I’d like to get our reviews up, it’s just a matter of time.

    We will be talking about these books, most likely very extensively, in the next episode after Part 2 of our conversation with Josh and Ed.
    Sean recently posted..“Sunrise” Mylar Sun PrintMy Profile

  • [...] Tony Soldo, Only the Valiant: “Also, one big thing that I really appreciate is that none of these books are using narration boxes or text panels to tell the story or show what the character is thinking. This is overused in comics, and it makes the artist less substantial because he/she isn’t allowed to really tell the story. In comics, writing and art need to work in tandem, and these Valiant books are really letting the artists shine without tons of words holding them back. We get so much characterization here just on the art and dialogue alone, it’s very impressive.” [...]

  • Matt comments:

    This is so awesome! Yay Tony! Stellar review!

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