The best comic book event of the year finishes today and it’s a full-scale war over Los Angeles. We’re talking a skyscraper sized alien spaceship, X-O Manowar mans up and fights the good fight and the Armor Hunters get their butts handed to them. Or do they? Is it good?
Armor Hunters #4 (Valiant Entertainment)
The issue opens with Livewire harnessing the power of the X-O Manowar suit as she tries to stop the machines unleashed by the Armor Hunters from destroying more of LA. Gin-Gr, a celestial looking alien spaceship is stomping his way around, taking out human defenses. The Armor Hunters want to kill X-O and the US is not giving her up so easily. Meanwhile, Ninjak and Eternal Warrior are en-route, X-O is having last minute doubts about his role in helping Earth and Bloodshot is presumably carrying the bloody carcass to LA to show off his spoils. All in a day’s work!
Look at that scale!
This issue focuses on the battle yes, but its main hero is X-O Manowar, who has the most prominent conflict and emotional story arc. It’s a bit odd frankly, because he hasn’t been featured that heavily in this series so far. Sure, the Armor Hunters are on Earth because of the suit he wears, but he’s remained in the background with the other Valiant heroes doing all the fighting. That’s a long way of saying X-O’s heroic saving of the day doesn’t read like it was earned; it’s more of a deus ex machina situation. It’s made all the more obvious when the book opens with X-O whining about his role in saving Earth. He’s not very heroic and the reader is only going to see his weakness as pathetic. Get in the game, man!
The hair looks weird there.
Writer Robert Venditti has to call X-O to action in only about a page, which isn’t much in his defense. Once he is back in the game the comic gets a’ rocking and yes, you should come a’ knocking. The comic is a hell of a lot of fun, with all of our heroes going one on one with the Armor Hunters we’ve slowly learned about over the last four months. Each battle is interesting and compelling. Hell, Venditti gives the main Armor Hunter a win of his own too, so it’s not a straight “heroes prevail” sort of fight either.
I do think Venditti takes out Gin-Gr too easily. He basically goes down like a chump. It’s too bad, because he was so interesting when we saw his origin a few issues ago over in Unity #10. The fact that I’m disappointed at all proves the character was made compelling in a short amount of time. It’s just too bad his demise had to be more of a one-off than anything. That’s a testament to the writing of these books, that is for sure.
The art by Doug Braithwaite owns in this issue. The guy knows how to draw the epic and the dramatic, as well as clear and clean facial expressions. The action is only seven pages but it’s complex and tight. In all honesty, those seven pages could have made up two comics on their own, but Braithwaite does a great job with the limited space he’s given.
Everyone eyeroll to this. Do it now!
Is It Good?
A satisfying conclusion with all the action we’ve been dying for, loose ends tied up and an epic heroic finale for X-O Manowar that redefines the character. I’d call that a win, wouldn’t you?