Friday, October 3, 2014

Review - Armor Hunters: Aftermath #1


"We are Unity."

Assembling a team to defend the planet is never easy. Personalities clash, powers have to mix and the protected have to buy into the collection of power. It's safe to say though that when the entire planet is threatened by a galactic enemy, that it's a good thing to have a team of superpowers come together to defend it. And that's just what Armor Hunters: Aftermath #1 from Valiant Entertainment has going for it. The issue is written by Robert Venditti, illustrated by Cafu, colored by Brian Reber and lettered by Dave Sharpe.

The invasion of the Armor Hunters has passed, leaving massive casualties and a fractured populace in its wake. While the effects of their arrival proved catastrophic for much of Earth, it did prompt some heavy hitters to realize they could do more good together than separate. X-O Manowar, Unity, Bloodshot and the Harbinger Renegades realize they must forge a new frontline of defense for the people of Earth if it's to stand a chance. And if the build-up in the one-shot is to be believed, the planet will definitely need their services.

Armor Hunters was a very ambitious crossover for Valiant and the fallout was massive. That's what makes Armor Hunters: Aftermath #1 feel so rewarding. Venditti's script is done in a way that gives readers a chance to collect their breath before diving into the next major event in the Valiant universe. Earth is teetering on the edge of complete chaos and fear, held in check solely by the presence of X-O Manowar and others. Venditti paces the issue extraordinarily well, giving it time to breathe and not really rushing to get anything across to the reader other than the payoff at the end. It's great seeing all the characters living their routines post-apocalypse and the entire time you're reading you know that Armor Hunters: Aftermath #1 is sort of the calm before the storm.

At this point for Valiant, all of their main characters have been defined and have notable looks and styles. Cafu taps into that and does a wonderful job illustrating all the characters, even managing to throw a big smiley face on a giant robot for good measure. Pages are jam-packed with action and many panels really show off the characters referenced, giving the reader a great look at who's who. Panel layouts are pretty straightforward and simple, with Cafu relying more on the traditional grid over an abundance of insets. Reber's colors are also extremely efficient at filling out the world in Armor Hunters: Aftermath #1 further, offering darker tones throughout.

Armor Hunters: Aftermath #1 is a book that rewards patience in the reader with the potential for a big payoff. It's great for Valiant fans to be able to see many of their favorite Valiant characters "relaxing" so to speak in their own ways before being brought together for a greater good. Venditti makes their union feel a little like the Avengers, but with decidedly more disparate personalities and a slew of individual motives. Cafu's art is very strong and presents a world on the brink of disaster, with all the members of Unity on full display. Armor Hunters: Aftermath #1 is a great one-shot that really seems to move things in position for events down the line more than anything else, but is still worth checking out.

Armor Hunters: Aftermath #1 is in stores now.

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