Saturday, 12 July 2014

Armor Hunters #2 Review (Robert Venditti, Doug Braithwaite)

The last issue ended with an explosion on the scale of a nuclear bomb going off in Mexico City, levelling it. As expected, this second issue is the characters standing around reacting in shock at this event. Towards the end some giant robot dogs attack Aric, but that’s basically the whole issue right there.

Here’s the thing: I don’t need tons of action. I don’t need to see Aric and the rest of Unity, who all make cameos in this issue, to start fighting the Armor Hunters in a big superhero smackdown. That kind of stuff usually bores me more often than not. But I also don’t like predictability, and this whole issue is predictable reactions from all of the characters.

The US Government is of course shocked and begins to mobilise its military. Aric’s people get targeted so he rushes off to save them. All of the characters stand around saying variations of “why… how could… what the…”. The various characters in Unity stand about and make macho statements – Bloodshot is the worst but then he’s an awful character anyway. The Armor Hunters, realising the bomb didn’t make Aric hand over the Manowar armour (duh), step up their game by sending out some giant robot dogs to track down the armour.

Robert Venditti’s plotting is logical and even-handed, with the scenes in this issue flowing nicely from one to the next – but those scenes are so boringly predictable that they’re dull to read! There wasn’t a single unexpected beat here, no flash of inspiration, just a lot of bland dialogue and scenes that anyone could’ve written. It’s a bit of a letdown because Venditti’s usually a better writer than this.

The Armor Hunters themselves remain undeveloped ciphers. They’re alien-looking, menacing, and can obviously kick ass, but besides from the occasional scene here and there hinting at their past, I know nothing about them. Some more background on them – they are the title characters of this series, after all! – would be appreciated as opposed to hardly anything. That way, I might actually care about their characters.

There’s an interesting new development as Aric discovers Shanhara is bonding with him and their relationship is like that of a parasite and a host. Doug Braithwaite’s art is expressive, especially in the scenes with Malgam who is being questionably held by the US government – questionable as they seem to be torturing him. Some of the art is very visceral too, like in the action scene with the robo-dogs when Aric literally stomps on one of their heads!

Two issues in and I’m still not very interested in this event comic – Venditti’s XO Manowar has slowly been getting less interesting and Armor Hunters (which is basically an XO Manowar comic) doesn’t buck the trend. So I guess we’re waiting to see Aric and Unity beat the Armor Hunters? They’re not going to actually take the armour from him are they? Ho hum. Predictable.

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