Review - Armor Hunters #1

"This world's cultures are imitating the armor? Do they not understand what it is, Primary?"

On the off-chance that an alien armor makes its way to Earth, it's very possible that someone will equip it. It could possibly work out for them or it could consume them. Either way, it's likely that others out there will be looking for it and will stop at nothing to get it. Valiant Entertainment is centering most of their universe around such an event in Armor Hunters #1, written by Robert Venditti, illustrated by Doug Braithwaite, colored by Laura Martin and lettered by Dave Sharpe.

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.

Valiant Entertainment has been building to Armor Hunters #1 seemingly forever, seeding the storyline throughout their entire universe. That has made the wait for the book painfully long, but Venditti knocks it out of the park. The pacing of the issue is extraordinary, offering up a very evenly timed first issue that moves the reader along at a slow burn. Aric is just as much the disgruntled warrior that he's always been and the new enemies are sufficiently frightening. The final few pages are pretty insane all things considered, really hitting home how feared the Armor Hunters really should be. Their arrival is pitched in a way that offers salvation from the X-O Manowar armor, even if it's a near impossible situation for the inhabitants of Earth to fully comprehend their choice.

There's a certain look that Valiant tends to stick with, mostly because they use many of the same artists. If Venditti knocked the story out of the park, then Braithwaite crushed it even more--if that's possible. His characters are depicted with very crisp lines that makes it really easy for the reader to keep up with what's happening. The Armor Hunters look like they're very serious about their mission, as Braithwaite presents them in a manner that's both intimidating and demonstrates their brutal potential. Beyond his characters, the settings and world they inhabit is equally as breathtaking, with Braithwaite filling the book with painstaking detail throughout. Armor Hunters #1 reflects some really impressive artwork that more books would be lucky to have.

Considering the wait, it would've been easy for Armor Hunters #1 to be something of a letdown. Thankfully, the book delivered on all fronts. The premise of the book falls prey slightly to what seems to be a "Get X-O Manowar" theme throughout most of the Valiant books, but it works very well in this book. Venditti is one of the best writers in the business and he's played a big part in most of the Valiant universe to this point and his work in Armor Hunters #1 is yet another example of rather exemplary comic book writing. Braithwaite's illustrations are beautiful and reflect a pretty immense talent, fitting the book perfectly and getting it off on the right foot. Armor Hunters #1 is a book that anyone will want to read, even if they're not caught up on the happenings in the Valiant Universe. The cliffhanger ending proves that it's something to be taken seriously and isn't looking to waste words or lines.

Armor Hunters #1 is in stores now with interiors below.