Monday, 29 September 2014

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


Following suit with the comics big boys, Valiant have done their own summer event comic, this one called Armor Hunters – and, surprisingly for an event comic, it’s actually not bad!

The Armor Hunters are a group of mercenaries flying through space in a giant robot on an unending mission to destroy every single piece of Manowar armor in the universe ‘cos they’re dangerous. Now they’ve come to Earth to separate Aric from Shanhara – but he don’t WANNA! Time for lots of smashy-smashy action between toy-like figures with many things going BOOM! 

Yeah, this ain’t the smartest of books but, like a big dumb action movie, it’s enjoyable enough while it lasts. There’s lots of ‘splosions, violent superhero fights, and the kind of destruction that puts Valiant on par with Marvel or DC when they come to their event comics. Except this one, due to its brevity (5 issues), has a snappier pace to it that comics like Forever Evil or Original Sin lack.

Despite the title, this is essentially another XO Manowar book with some cameos from Unity. The Armor Hunters themselves are little more than ciphers – if you were expecting backstory and character development, there’s none of one and very little of the other.

It’s also guilty of that most damning of superhero stories: fight first, talk later. If the Armor Hunters and MERO and co. had talked about their goals and what they were aiming for, rather than immediately launching into hitting each other as hard as possible, they could’ve avoided a LOT of pointless deaths. But then there’d be no story, etc., so you have to accept that this is Valiant/Robert Venditti being dim on purpose to do their best Michael Bay-iest/money-making impression. 

The ending is predictable and the after-effects of the event (EVERY event comic has to have these to overstate their IMPORTANCE) are a bit weak, but, despite its faults, I was into the story. I know my brain was eating junk but sometimes a Whopper is just what you want! Armor Hunters was a flashy superhero thing that told its story concisely and straightforwardly, and that’s all an event comic really needs to do.

Armor Hunters is no classic in the making, or even one of Valiant’s best titles of the year, but it’s a decent event comic that’s fun enough to make it worth a read if you’re in the mood for something unchallenging and silly.

Armor Hunters Volume 1

6 comments:

  1. "I know my brain was eating junk but sometimes a Whopper is just what you want!"

    You just summed up my experience of reading Justice League: Origin.

    I think the "mental whoppers" are what you need, sometimes, though. Sure, it's awesome to have books with depth and character development, but sometimes you need to take a break. To me, that's Scott Lobdell's only redeeming characteristic- it gives you a break from the complexity of a Morrison storyline.

    Either way, you've got me interested in this one. I haven't read much X-O Manowar, though, so I'll put this in the "maybe" column.

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    1. You don't really need to have read a lot of XO Manowar to understand Armor Hunters - you can just jump straight in, you'll be fine!

      What Scott Lobdell books have you enjoyed junking out on recently?

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    2. I should clarify- the only way to justify Lobdell's career is that he does give some junk. It's the equivalent of eating baking chocolate, but if that's what there is...

      His first couple of issues of Teen Titans weren't as bad as the rest of the series, and I keep thinking to myself "I should check out H'el on Earth". And then tell myself that I'll likely regret it.

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    3. The search for a Lobdell rec without the word "regret" in it continues!

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    4. Collected editions are usually pretty kind to Lobdell. It's what gets me thinking that Superboy etc would make okay reads. Then I read what everyone else says about the book in question.

      And, yeah, not so much.

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  2. Side note: I am going to quote you on that Whopper comment, so relevant.

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