Tuesday, 28 October 2014

X-O Manowar Volume 7: Armor Hunters Review (Robert Venditti, Diego Bernard)

This past summer’s Valiant event Armor Hunters was pretty light on the Hunters’ backgrounds (the villains of the series) and centred mostly on Aric, the hero of XO Manowar. Ironically, this XO Manowar book features the Armor Hunters prominently with but a brief appearance from Aric at the end.

This is the book that should’ve led up to Armor Hunters. What the event lacked was any grounding in the villains of the story – we didn’t really know who they were, we just knew that they travelled the galaxy destroying Manowar armors. This book takes a look at Reebo, the leader of the Armor Hunters, and Malgam, the man with the deformed Manowar armor who attacked Aric in volume 6, and reveals how they met/became Hunters, etc.

Once upon a time Reebo and Malgam were a bounty hunter partnership until they agreed to take out a Manowar armor, a decision that changes their lives. They’re recruited by an alien Captain Ahab-type whose obsession with the armors keeps him constantly hunting them throughout the cosmos. Something terrible happens to Malgam on one of their hunts and Reebo has to take drastic action to save his friend’s life.

That’s not to say this is an amazing book as the story is a bit simplistic – Reebo and Malgam fall into the Armor Hunters’ mission very easily and from there on out it’s chasing one armor after another, ad infinitum – especially in comparison to Robert Venditti’s earlier, better XO Manowar books. But it held my attention and I really enjoyed Diego Bernard’s wonderful art which brings the alien landscapes to vivid, detailed life.

I still would’ve liked to have known more about the armors themselves – how do they replicate themselves, why do they need hosts, where do they come from, and why is their default aim to destroy? We’re seven volumes deep into this series but we still know very little about Shanhara and the other armors.

Besides the Armor Hunters’ histories, we finally see Aric receive his military rank of XO (Executive Officer) so the series title now makes sense. Volume 7 has an ok story with some excellent art, but fans who haven’t read Armor Hunters or don’t want to, might feel cheated that they’ve picked up this XO Manowar book and got a story about the Armor Hunters instead!

X-O Manowar Volume 7: Armor Hunters

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