Before I begin, let me preface this by stating that I have never read a single issue of Valiant’s X-O Manowar. I walked into this issue with a blank slate of a mind. I have never heard of the ludicrously powerful super-armor, nor have I heard of the super-armor’s wearer, Aric Darcia, and his time-displaced, worlds-spanning adventures. Naturally, this also kept me unaware of the fiercely determined title group, the Armor Hunters, and their objective of eliminating the threat that the X-O Manowar and other armors present for the entire universe.
So, there was a lot for me to catch up on.
But with that said, I believe I can safely say this: If you are aching for a read that involves a deadly, multi-species assassin group, a government that desperately wants to hold on to its most prized weapon, and one man that stands as the target and one of the few lines of defense that Earth holds, then now is the time to jump on with Valiant’s Armor Hunters #1.
This beautifully drawn and colored first issue sets up (and, thankfully, briefly brings readers up to speed on past events) the main conflict that will be explored during these four issues. We see the Armor Hunters ready – nearly desperate – to eliminate the X-O Manowar armor, and we also witness the lengths that the Hunters will go to fulfill their mission.
Since I am not filled in on the backstory very well, I cannot say for sure how well I’m supposed to know these Armor Hunters individually, what their histories are, or how many members of their group have fallen in the line of action. Still, I felt that the variety of characters presented here, though filling in some common tropes, shows promise in both providing a very deadly threat to Darcia and in keeping us invested through the Armor Hunter’s dynamics. They are essentially a dwindling group of super-soldiers intent on cleansing the universe of all armor super-weapons. This mission has a serious weight attached to it, and if the effects this has on the Armor Hunters is explored in future issues, this series could really reach some emotional depth.
But of course, the Hunters still loom as the main antagonists in this series, which is proved through the use a somewhat-expected, though still mortifying tactic at the end of the issue. Aric Darcia, along with the American military defense, see first-hand the destruction an inter-galactic strike-team can cause, and it leaves the reader wondering where this will all head.
I can only hope that the series reaches its full potential in later issues, as the set-up is ripe with possibilities. Will the US government stay by Darcia’s side after meeting the Armor Hunters, or will they attempt to hand him off to save the planet? Will Darcia, already obligated to help the US military, concede to the Hunters, or fight back due to the destruction they caused? How deeply will the concept of the needs of the few versus the needs of the many be explored?
For me, I’m excited to uncover the answers to these questions.
Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.