Friday, 4 July 2014

Armor Hunters #1 Review (Robert Venditti, Doug Braithwaite)

Maybe it’s the DC effect of writing various Green Lantern titles and he’s stretched a bit thin but Robert Venditti’s XO Manowar comics have slowly gone from being amazing to mediocre. Unfortunately, the trend continues with Armor Hunters #1, which is actually just another XO Manowar comic with a different title. 

If you’ve been reading the XO Manowar comics, you’ll know Aric encountered a violent alien called Malgam wearing what looked like another version of Shanhara. He had an ominous message for him that “they’re coming”, meaning the Armor Hunters - super-powerful beings who travel around the universe destroying XO Manowar suits of armor before the sentient armors destroy entire planets. 

But, of course, to Aric and MERO on Earth, it looks like the Armor Hunters are bad guys looking to wage war on humanity, so fighting happens. 

It’s strange that Venditti attempts to portray the Armor Hunters ambiguously - they’re doing what they think will save billions of lives, albeit overly aggressively - but then what the hell was with the way this issue ended? There’s no way the Armor Hunters will be looked upon as anything but mass murdering lunatics after that act! Yeesh. Subtlety went out the window before the first issue was over and it’s now an uncomplicated XO Manowar vs deranged aliens storyline. 

Doug Braithwaite’s art is as exceptional as it always is and I loved the way the Armor Hunters infiltrated the Russian bunker at the start of the issue - very menacing in a futuristic way - and their character designs are very cool too. 

Armor Hunters #1 is an ok start to the event. It sets up the core conflict of Aric vs the Armor Hunters, as well as the Hunters’ motivations, but it’s a pretty shallow story so far. The way this issue ended felt a bit desperate, like Venditti was grasping for ways to compel the reader with the story, failed, and overreached. We’ll see how it plays out, but so far Armor Hunters is, like the last couple XO Manowar volumes, disappointingly average.

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