The cool thing about this issue is that not all the Visigoth people are completely on board with Aric leading them. They don't really know him. All they know is that he freed them from the Vine, and while they're grateful, they've never had a leader, so this idea of having a king rule over them is new and strange. Most of the defiance comes from Volo, who is quite the leader himself.
The action sequences in this issue are explosive, especially the ones involving Volo and the Visigoths protecting their land. Robert Venditti has done wonders with building towards action and letting it play out, which turns into these scenes of brutality. Now, we're not talking about "brutality" like something you'd see in those Saw films. This is more of humans struggling to survive and giving it everything they've got in order to win in battle. Venditti gives the reader these very real feeling, science fiction scenes that aren't over-the-top or violent just for the sake of violence.
This story is really coming to a boil, slowly. The build-up to UNITY is fantastic. This isn't all just happening at once. Since the end of issue #14, Aric has come to Earth, made his home, and made a lot of people angry. Venditti could have jumped right into UNITY, and it would have been ok, but he's building up this new world and new story, which makes the anticipation for it so much better. It gives the reader time to breathe, so they'll actually be excited for the next event and not just thrust into it.
Clayton Crain's cover is awesome. I love the detail and color work on it. If realism isn't your thing, then there's also a Tetris-flavored variant, by Donovan Santiago, which will immediately get this stuck in your head.
Nothing too problematic with this issue. There's a couple minor problems with art consistency in Aric's face and nose structure. It looks a bit different a couple times, but that being said, there's nothing else to really pick at here.
If you plan on reading UNITY, this is a book you have to pick up. You should be reading it, regardless, but this will probably put all of UNITY really into perspective when it happens.
X-O MANOWAR #18 is an impressive lead in to UNITY. The build up, over the past few issues has been marvelous and the fact there's downtime between the two more major events just makes the anticipation for UNITY all that much greater. Aside from the fact that this is a book you really should read if you plan on reading UNITY and a couple minor art critiques, this was an exceptionally fun issue featuring one hell of a battle featuring the Visigoth people standing up for themselves, while Aric was off destroying a submarine. This issue has a lot for comic fans to love, and while it's not the best jumping on place (#15 is a bit better), picking this book up is worth your while.