Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Doug Braithwaite
Colorist: Laura Martin
As a series, Armor Hunters, the new X-O Manowar mini-event from Valiant Comics, has a ton of potential. The idea of cosmic bounty hunters who have come to collect the X-O Manowar armor from Aric, everybody’s favorite Visgoth, is fantastically cool. Of all the mysteries of the Valiant Universe, the purpose of Aric’s armor and where it comes from really stands out. Readers of X-O Manowar take it for granted that Aric simply has this all-powerful armor and rules a small section of rural Nebraska with it. But what was this weapon designed for?
“Armor Hunters #1″ doesn’t quite deliver on the promise of this potential, but it is a successful introduction to the concept of Armor Hunters. Again, another “Aric is taking over the world and we need to stop him” story would have been pretty tired at this point, so I’m entirely on board with a new direction for the X-O superstar. My biggest qualm with “Armor Hunters #1″ is simply that the titular armor hunters are poorly fleshed out. We have these brand new cosmic hunters, seemingly capable of going toe-to-toe with earth’s mightiest warrior, but they vaguely destroy Russian Spetsnaz and then hang out in a space robot. In depth characterization of these new faces would go a long way.
We saw this in the Valiant Universe not too long ago when Matt Kindt was able to take a few small forces and quickly give them both backstory and personalization in the pages of Unity. That’s exactly the kind of added value we need from Venditti and Braithwaite here if Armor Hunters is going to stand on its own as a strong addition to Valiant. Without this enhanced level of story, the issue as it stands is a passable, largely low-stakes narrative in the world of X-O Manowar.
To the creator’s credit, too, the ending of “Armor Hunters #1″ is truly momentous. I actually almost couldn’t believe they did it, and the upcoming “Armor Hunters #2″ will reveal whether this was truly done, or some slight of hand on the part of Valiant.
I like this concept a lot , but the first issue doesn’t do a lot for me. This team of hunters feels underdeveloped, and there’s undoubtedly plenty of opportunity with a whole new team of cosmic warriors capable of fighting the X-O Manowar armor. Matt Kindt was able to give character and meaning to small teams of psiots in mere pages in Unity, and we need some of that same character-building here. Looks like this will be crossing over into Unity and X-O Manowar #26, which gives Valiant a chance to expand on this world and situation.
“Armor Hunters #1″ earns 6.2 / 10