The opening pages of this Armor Hunters #1 is mainly the teaser pages we have been seeing for months now, but does the rest of the issue, for Valiant’s heavily pushed crossover event, pay-off? Read on to find out!
Official description from VALIANT:
A relentless and surgical strike team from the farthest reaches of space – sworn to exterminate the X-O Manowar armor and all like it – have found finally their final target. They will hunt. They will trap. They will kill. And they will rid the universe of the X-O Manowar’s incalculable destructive power… even if it means taking the Earth with it.
The long-awaited Valiant event is finally here with Armor Hunters #1 and the kick-off to this summer event is impressive to say the least. Robert Venditti teased fans in issue #25 of X-O Manowar as to who the Armor Hunters are, how serious their hunt is and the inherent dangers that lie ahead for Aric and even M.E.R.O. But that was literally just a taste and by the end of this issue you will get gut punched and left speechless as the ferocity and absolute determination of the Armor Hunters.
Venditti has kicked off this big event in the biggest of ways. Throughout the X-O Manowar series Aric has had little challenge to his power and his biggest struggle was how to use it effectively as both a savior to his people and as a responsible hero. No one has ever been a real threat to his armor…until now! Venditti wastes no time getting to the action as the Hunters attack on a mission for Aric but come up short, he also gets right to the point of the Hunters inner workings as they search for the armor that brings them to earth. It’s established early on that this group is well versed on their hunts and that Aric is in real trouble.
As a first issue this is a typical set-up piece but Venditti approaches it in unconventional fashion and at a break neck pace. From the introduction of the Hunters, to Aric being swooped by M.E.R.O., interrogating Malgam, to the ultimate first contact between Aric and the Armor Hunters leader, puts all the pieces in place for maximum impact and dramatic tension. He is clear and concise as to why the Hunter’s are here, who they are and what they are willing to do to achieve that goal. Venditti uses all the tools, in his arsenal as a story-teller, and even if you haven’t been following any of the lead up to this issue you will be hooked from the beginning.
Doug Braithwaite who does a tremendous job on Unity, Valiant’s superhero team book, is a perfect fit for something like Armor Hunters. He knows how to keep the pace moving, with a multitude of characters and action, without confusing or losing readers along the way. He’s tailor made for Venditti’s story which hits like a sledgehammer from the start and with this new team of Hunters can make the distinction readers need but have fun at the same time with the outrageousness and character the Armor Hunters possess. This is a diverse group and Braithwaite dives in head first behind Venditti’s lead. This is a perfect pairing for Valiant’s keystone event.
So, the original question was “does this crossover pay-off?” I can say with resounding confidence that is does and does so in a very big way. As a crossover it’s tough to say that readers with no pervious knowledge will have an easy time jumping in here but it is so good that I can’t recommend it highly enough for new readers. Longtime X-O Manowar fans will fall in love from the very first page and Venditti does such a good job, blasting right out of the gate, that new readers will love it for it’s solid foundation and the story Venditti is telling. Armor Hunters is off to the right start and if issue one is any gauge this will be both exciting and rich with character, action and drama. If there’s one event to get in on from the beginning to the very end, Armor Hunters #1 is it!