Valiant’s latest crossover, “Armor Hunters,” puts the Manowar Armor in the spotlight as a deadly weapon that necessitates destruction in order to save Earth, and perhaps other worlds, from destruction. So far, we’ve learned very little about this crossover’s antagonists (or protagonists, depending on your viewpoint): the titular Armor Hunters. Thus, during the crossover, the X-O Manowar title plans to explore the background of these warriors from the stars. How does this first installment measure up? Let’s take a look at X-O Manowar #26!
Before they became inducted into the ranks of the Armor Hunters, Reebo (who would become Primary) and Malgam were simple bounty hunters, taking on small jobs for quick payouts. They tire of small time hunts, however, and demand a larger job from their main contact. He directs them to a loner who tells a story about how a single suit of armor decimated his planet. Incredulous, but intrigued, Reebo and Malgam go to the planet…but get more than they bargained for when even their advanced tech and high level skills can barely halt the armor’s unbridled destructive force.
Though X-O Manowar #26 breaks from the present plotline, it is nevertheless a refreshing story. Readers have learned very little about the Armor Hunters proper, and thus I think it’s important writer Robert Venditti is taking the time to flesh these characters out through the core title. This issue is particularly important, as it shows us the bond between Reebo and Malgam, one we know unfortunately will be tested as the latter become engulfed by a suit of alien armor. This issue is also the first to show another armor in action, and illustrate the deadly consequences of one that is unbound. Sadly, the issue ends on a big cliffhanger, but I suppose that just makes a good draw to come back and see the next part of the story in a month.
Diego Bernard quickly became one of my favorite artists after seeing his covers and pages on some earlier issues of X-O Manowar. Bernard exceeds his previous work with X-O Manowar #26, presenting great character designs, clever figure placement, and excellent battle scenes. Aided by colorist Brian Reber and inker Alisson Rodrigues, Bernard offers readers a visual treat. Long-time science fiction fans will especially appreciate the bar (or perhaps I should say, cantina) scenes, which harken back to classic comics, books, and films that are part of the sci-fi zeitgeist.
X-O Manowar #26 once again delivers a great story that helps mold the Valiant Universe and give greater depth to a new cast of characters. More secrets about the Manowar armor are sure to crop up in the next few issues, and I cannot wait to learn more about its origins, abilities, and the threat it poses. Though Aric is not featured in this issue it did not weaken the installment by any means. For those reading Armor Hunters and interested in finding out more about these new adversaries, this is definitely a comic you’ll want to check out.
-awesome art from Bernard, Reber, and Rodriguez
-great exploration of the Armor Hunters’ history
-excellent set-up for the friendship between Malgam and Reebo
-as a supplement to Armor Hunters, might confuse or not interest readers who aren’t reading the core crossover title
Brett Simon is a twenty four year old comic enthusiast. The only hunting he does with his best friend is for bargain clothing.
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