By Robert Venditti, Doug Braithwaite & Laura Martin
The build up to Armor Hunters has been excruciating because Valiant made damn sure everybody knew about this big time event with, arguably, their biggest character and series right now and every time we got another glimpse it just made the wait worse and worse. Well, it’s finally here and it looks like every bit of build up and all the anticipation is going to pay off.
First and foremost the architect of X-O Manowar from day one, Robert Venditti, is an unstoppable guy right now; he’s on fire and everything he’s touching is just fantastic. Knowing that, it should come as no surprise that Armor Hunters is a spectacular read. No panel is wasted and unlike other first issues for an event from other companies, it really feels like Venditti just dove head first into the action and the conflict. There’s no filler; no bullshit or stalling or anything that feels unnecessary and my god is it refreshing.
If you’ve never seen Doug Braithwaite’s work, you’d best pick this up for that alone. His line work, along with stellar colors from the fantastic Laura Martin, helps take what would already be a good issue and turn it into a great issue. From the brutal opening sequence that features a great digital-looking effect from Martin, to the serene beauty of Nebraska, everything is just perfectly rendered. Braithwaite is the kind of artist who’s work we can only dream of having on a consistent basis but, due to the obvious intricacies of it, we only get short arcs or, in this case, a short event. At the end of the day, at least we’re getting to see his art in any form, regardless of quantity, and it was a great move from Valiant to get him for this event because he really does elevate Venditti’s fantastic script to the next level.
Once again, superhero world, take note of Valiant here because clearly Armor Hunters is going to resonate through not only X-O Manowar but the rest of the Valiant Universe for some time. With something that large in scope, you’d think it was going to be some crazy 12-part series, right? Well, you’d be wrong, because, aside from tie-ins, Armor Hunters is only four issues. Four issues that you can bet money on being all killer and no filler. In Venditti and Braithwaite we trust, jump on Armor Hunters. If only all major events, across the board, could follow a format like this…