The “Armor Hunters” storyline continues with this chapter, “A Call to Arms,” that continues Malgam’s history with the hunters leading to his infection with Armor. First off, hats off to the cover designer for supplying a gruesome image of a skull inside an Armored helmet with a shattered faceplate. I can almost hear the scream echoing from the poor soul’s mouth as it perished. Seriously, look at the cover and see how well the skull appears to be screaming in horror.
As an origins issue for the Armor Hunters team, X-O #27 follows bounty hunters turned armor hunters Reebo and Malgam as they meet future team members including Quartz, Helix, and spaceship Gin-Gr. Neophyte hunters in training, the group receives instruction as to how to combat their foes. When the ships return empty due to all the seasoned hunters perishing while pursuing their prey, the group matures fast.
On their first hunt the team faces an X-O piloted by a three-fingered creature. Although it proves a worth adversary, the group utilizes teamwork to thwart their target. We, readers, see the reason why Aric of Dacia faces unbeatable odds with this latest adversary.
Diego Bernard has a Herculean task in illustrating so many alien species and landscapes. He does so with great results, for each character has such distinct features and qualities. Not once did I encounter a problem discerning one alien from another. Additionally, his handling of action begets fluid scenes where one can follow each action beat without question as to what happened or who speared whom.
Writer Robert Venditti again incorporates great touches like the alien spaceships returning empty. Without the need to spell it out to the audience, Venditti shows that the Armor Hunters are formidable, but so are the X-O Armors. That’s another reason why this book consistently stands out as one of the best on the shelves.
My only minor gripe with this issue is that it is the second to not have Aric. We get an X-O armor, but I do miss the Visigoth leader and all his blunt charms. Needless to say, this whole series in this book and the other Valiant selections has been one of the best-orchestrated story arcs in comics in quite some time. The details and plot development has yet to fail in any way. Now I am impatient to know what will happen, but I just don’t want this story to end.
Writer: Robert Venditti Artist: Diego Bernard Colorist: Brian Reber Letterer: Dave Sharpe Company: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 7/30/14 Format: Ongoing; Digital and Print