Armor Hunters has been my favorite storyline of the summer, but how are its tie ins? (So-so to great, actually.) We’ll find out if that trend continues with X-O Manowar #28, a storyline focused on the history of the hunters themselves. Is it good?
X-O Manowar #28 (Valiant Entertainment)
Last issue, we learned what it took for Reebo, the leader of the Armor Hunters (who just obliterated Mexico City), to get involved with the hunters. Info was laid bare on the X-O suit, how he was put in place with his team, and the stakes in store for killing every X-O suit in the universe.
We also got to see his first hunt, and this issue starts up where the last left off, with 3 of his team killed, but one X-O put down for good. If you’ve been reading all the books, Malgam is a character wearing the X-O suit that our Earth X-O took out a few months back. He’s been imprisoned, largely because he’s lost his mind, but it was recently revealed he used to be a hunter himself. This issue reveals who he was prior to getting the suit and it’s a bit of a surprise how he got it.
Armors ruin everything!
Writer Robert Venditti continues to do a great job with the dialogue, plot and reveals. This issue progresses the overall story as we learn why the hunters are going to eventually be on their own when they come to Earth but the biggest surprise is the Reebo/Malgam dynamic. It’s not 100% clear, but it looks like they were lovers. Love can do crazy things and the fact that it was involved with Malgam getting the X-O suit makes his character a ton more interesting and compelling. Fact is, when Bloodshot ends up tracking him down in his tie-in next month, Malgam is going to be far more interesting to read about.
Much of this book is focused on building character, and while there is a new X-O to take out, the action sequence is quick, about 2 pages, and truthfully its purpose is more to expand on other characters in how they react to it. This issue also goes a long way in explaining why this team is so war torn once they reach Earth. Their frailty is shown and it does a good job humanizing them. They aren’t some blind threat to Earth, but characters with real purpose and a rightful reason to be blowing up entire cities.
Something interesting that this and all the other Valiant books haven’t tackled yet is why these armors are so threatening? So far we’ve not seen what they do to ruin planets so badly. I suppose it’s the fact that a common organism becomes godlike with the X-O suit, but so far whenever these suits are hunted down they don’t seem to be doing anything but defending themselves.
Where does Valiant find these artists? Every single one, at least on this Armor Hunters story, have been blockbuster worthy. The quality is right up there with any Marvel or DC event book. Diego Bernard is on art duty here and he draws exceptionally well. The characters always look good, you’ll never be confused how they feel and the layouts are interesting. Top notch.
Is It Good?
Yet another great Armor Hunters tie-in that expands on the villains of the series nicely. And finally Malgam has become much more interesting!