X-O Manowar teams up with other armors from across the galaxy, who all have a hive mind, in a battle that could change the solar system. Can this team up stop Dead Hand, which seems to be an unstoppable force?
What's really cool about the overall issue here is that we actually get inside the "head" of Dead Hand, literally and figuratively. Robert Venditti treats the reader to Dead Hand's thought process through some captioning here It's pretty cool to see why Dead Hand does what it does and we also get some very, straight-to-the-point objectives.
The battle itself is fast paced and pretty exciting. There's a lot at stake here for not just Aric, but all the people of Earth, since Dead Hand's ultimate plan is to blow up the sun, so Aric has nothing to defend anymore, which is insanely diabolical for a planet-sized computer. It's non-stop from the start of the book until the end, and we get to see some pretty cool things like the inside of Dead Hand as well.
All of this leads to some more interesting things down the line. Venditti has a knack for setting up multiple threads at the end of each story, which can lead anywhere. Without giving anything away, this doesn't feel like the end. It feels like more is coming from Dead Hand, and in addition, there's even a connection to the more recent Armor Hunters story. There's a lot to get excited about.
Diego Bernard does a solid job on pencils and Brian Reber nails the colors for the book as well. The battles have a great look to them and the layouts keep the book moving. The two page spread, closer to the opening, is a great way to open the book and something Valiant should consider putting out as a poster.
As far as the final battle goes, it's a little bit of a let down. It takes up the majority of the issue, but when Aric is up against something so large and so powerful, it feels like it needs another issue to come to more of a natural resolution. While there's still space for all of what happens here to come back, later down the road, what happens here is just too quick for the threat that was set up.
There are some problems in the art department by way of inking. You can tell where Ryan Winn inked the book. It looks solid, but there's a few times where it's just not consistent and feels a lot less detailed. There were two other inkers working on this as well and it's apparent.
X-O MANOWAR's latest storyline, "Dead Hand" was solid and the final issue of the storyline was great at setting up possible future stories, but it felt like it went by a little too fast. Venditti still tells a great story here and Bernard, Reber, and Winn do some solid work, for the most part, minus a couple of hiccups along the way. It may not be the best issue of the series, but this was still a lot of fun and I recommend checking this issue out.