Review: Valiant First’s Armor Hunters #1 by Robert Venditti and Doug Braithwaite

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Review:  Armor Hunters #1

“Part 1:  Quarry”

Published by Valiant Entertainment

Written by Robert Venditti

Art by Doug Braithwaite

Coloured by Laura Martin

The Plot

The story begins with the Underground Bunker 3 in Russia being attacked.  The Hunters breach the bunker’s defenses and make short work of the soldiers in order to obtain the X-O armor.  However, they find a lot of “empty shells,” which was the commando armor modeled after the X-O armor by the Vine.  The Hunters then decide to continue searching for the real armor.  Over in Nebraska, Aric is enjoying some time with his people, but he is interrupted by a large group of military personnel.  They state they are there to protect his people and not to abduct them.  Over at M.E.R.O. Aric meets with Capshaw and she shows him an image of Gin-gr (a giant robot) in space.  Having concerns about the invasion Aric then requests to speak with Malgam.  They show Malgam an image of Gin-gr, which causes him to freak out.  Afterwards they are discussing a plan with the Secretary of Defense as their communications are disrupted by the Hunters.  Reebo (of the Hunters) gives them an ultimatum and Capshaw isn’t quick to comply with his request.  This prompts him to show them exactly what they are capable of and this leaves Aric and Capshaw completely stunned.

The Breakdown

This issue offered a lot of setup for the upcoming conflict.  I didn’t mind the lack of action because there’s going to be plenty of it in the next few issues.  I’m actually very interested about the background and history of the Armor Hunters.  They have a lot of power and an interesting skill set.  When I first heard about this series I assumed it was going to be about a group of people invading Earth to get a powerful weapon.  However, the story is different from that and I like it.  The Armor Hunters have a completely different motivation and judging by the end of the book, they’ll go to any means to achieve their goal.  This series will also explain more about the X-O armor, which is something else I’m really looking forward to because it will have major implications for everyone.  I’m also looking forward to the role reversal of seeing how or if Aric will match up against the Hunters.  The odds have been in his favour going into every battle thus far and this time it seems like they have the advantage.  Sure he was defeated by the Unity team, but they seemed like underdogs going into that one.  There were a few little touches here and there that helped to build up the threat level of the Armor Hunters like the military wanting to protect Aric’s people.  The art was really good in this issue as well.  Braithwaite did a good job of making the story not look static even though there was a lot of talking going on.  He’s the right guy for this title.  I really liked Martin’s colours in this issue as well.  The colours were so soft with the Visigoth scenes and then were very striking with the Hunter ones.  I always enjoy it when the colourist can help set the tone throughout the story.  All in all, I enjoyed the read this month.

BUT…

I’m not sure if I liked the cliffhanger or not.  It was effective in showing the threat posed by the Armor Hunters, but still not sure what I thought of it.  However, it’s just the first issue so I’m reserving judgment until the end.

Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?

Buy It.   They’ve been building up to event for a while and I think the payoff will be worth it.  For the past few years in the comic industry, events have been more miss than hit.  However, Valiant has shown that they can still be done effectively.  There may not be as many WTF moments or other shocking moments and that’s a good thing.  They care more about crafting a well told story more than using cheap storytelling gimmicks to sell an event.  Also, the core title is only four issues long so a decompressed story or filler issues aren’t likely with Armor Hunters.  Armor Hunters is off to a good start and I’m onboard with this one as Valiant is slowly making me look forward to events once again.

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