Wednesday, 18 June 2014

XO Manowar, Volume 6: Prelude to Armor Hunters Review (Robert Venditti, Diego Bernard)

In return for helping the US military, Aric is given a parcel of farmland in Nebraska for him and his people - the ancient Visigoths - to live in peace. But when you control the most powerful weapon in the world - Shanhara, the XO Manowar armour - life is anything but peaceful! 

On a salvage mission to recover Vine artifacts orbiting Earth, Aric encounters a hostile alien called Malgam wearing what looks to be part of a different XO Manowar armour. Meanwhile in a distant galaxy, a dangerous-looking group calling themselves the Armor Hunters are searching for and killing all users of the special armour - have I said armour enough times yet? - and Aric is next on their list. 

I’m surprised writer Robert Venditti managed to squeeze an entire book out of so little - besides briefly fighting Malgam, Aric does nothing at all for the entire volume. There is literally no story here besides living up to the subtitle - Prelude to Armor Hunters - which is exactly what it is: it’s Aric waiting for the Armor Hunters to come to Earth so they can fight. And it’s sooooooo boring to read! 

The bumper 25th issue features some pointless stories of Aric reminiscing about the old days when he and his uncle fought Romans, and the Armor Hunters stand around introducing themselves, which is to say Venditti manages to eat up the pages with still more padding. 

By far the best part of the book was Andy Runton’s Owly and Wormy crossover with Shanhara - yes, this actually happened and it was amazing!! Owly actually puts on the XO Manowar armour and uses its power to build some birdhouses and boil a tea kettle - I love that bird! Justin Jordan and Rafer Roberts’ one page strip of Aric and Shadowman having a pint and comparing their bizarre lives was also excellent, and funny too! But we’re only talking four or five good pages max out of 100+ and it’s not enough to recommend this book. 

This formerly awesome series has been hijacked by Valiant’s event comics - the last one was full of side issues to the first Unity arc while this one is all second-rate filler leading up to this summer’s Armor Hunters event. It’d be great if Venditti were allowed to go back to writing story arcs for this series again rather than the non-bits in between the actual stories. 

If you’ve read the subtitle, you’ve basically read this book - the actual reading experience adds very little to this prelude.

X-O Manowar Volume 6: Prelude to Armor Hunters

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