Welcome to Valiant’s biggest event of the year (so far)! It’s also the second book to fall under the banner Valiant First. As with every group review the participating reviewers will give the book a score followed by their opinion, but before that here’s what the issue is about via Valiant: When Aric of Dacia returned to Earth with the stolen X-O Manowar armor of an alien race, he thought he finally found a weapon to guard the peace and kingdom he’d struggled so long to secure. But now, a relentless and surgical strike team from the farthest reaches of space – sworn to exterminate the armor and all like it – have found their final target. The ARMOR HUNTERS are coming. They will hunt. They will trap. They will kill. And they will rid the universe of the X-O Manowar’s incalculable destructive power… even if it means taking the Earth with it.
Didn’t we just have a big Valiant crossover in Unity? Who cares? This company poops gold and out comes the best comics, in my honest opinion. So bring on this, the next big X-Over. (See what I did there?)
The Armor Hunters group we first met in X-O #23 makes its way to Earth to find and purge the armor. They first come across some duplicate shells created by those shifty Russians. This only prolongs the inevitable because Aric is out in Nebraska waiting to pummel anyone who crosses his spatially and temporally displaced Visigoths.
Aric gets recalled to the M.E.R.O. base where he interrogates Malgam about the Hunters. Reebo then commandeers the video screen and makes his demands. He implies that the Armor cannot be controlled and will one day ruin the lives of everyone in some terrible ways.
This is a great twist because the humans will feed off this warning and eventually turn on Aric when his usefulness in the armor runs out. Great work, Mr. Venditti. I hope Valiant buys you a yacht for making such great little twists in addition to all the big action sequences you orchestrate.
Just to show that the Armor Hunters mean business, they eradicate a populated city close to the target. I won’t give away any clues, but I will say that Tex-Mex will have to be called just Tex from now on.
Two back up stories close out the issue. One follows Bloodshot while the other, Harbinger. I just skimmed them due to the lack of two critical elements: X-O and Venditti.
The stakes are high, the opponents look unbeatable, and X-O will not come out of this battle unchanged. For a start to a big crossover, this book doesn’t ever let you breathe. Yes, we have been seeing the Armor Hunters for three issues, but now that they are here, the party starts.
I’ve never met a Valiant book that I liked. I was hoping that Armor Hunters would change that, but it didn’t. In their defense I’m not really a fan of this type of sci-fi story, especially it being a crossover which means I’m totally lost as far as the characters and setting goes. However, I feel like a good crossover can pull in readers to check out the other books that the creators have been working on. But for me, there wasn’t really anything memorable going on or any reason for me to check out the creative team’s other work. I was really trying hard to approach this book with an open mind and wanted to like it, but Armor Hunters fell flat. Even when the climax of the story hits and part of Mexio is destroyed, I didn’t feel the urgency or really care all that much that it had happened. My personal bias aside, I think this was just an average sci-fi issue in story and art.
I’ve been looking forward to Armor Hunters mostly because it seemed like two of Marvel’s attempted crossovers rolled into one, but executed with more skill. That and it adds a mystique to Aric’s armor. Previously it was a Vine holy artifact that only a chosen few could wear, but now it’s something stranger and possibly far more dangerous.
For me this was a great event book because it came in fast and strong. It didn’t hang out to introduce this or that or attempt to give you a complete understanding of the entire Valiant Universe. Instead it just asked you to come along for the ride and to see if X-O Manowar’s armor can really be trusted. There’s also some major damage done in this issue, but unlike other comic books I know that it won’t be undone by the end of the arc. Much like last year’s Harbinger Wars I know that the effects will be long lasting and that’s why a Valiant crossover/event book holds more weight with me than any other companies attempt at the same.
Writer: Robert Venditti Artist: Doug Braithwait Colorist: Laura Martin Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 6/11/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital