Armor Hunters #2 Review

Written by: Robert Venditti

Art by: Doug Braithwaite

Publisher: Valiant

One would think that, before an event begins, all of the set up work would have been taken care of in other books, in the months leading up to the start of the event. With Armor Hunters, this is not the case. Now in its second issue, we’ve gotten little more than page after page of set up for later parts of the event. With the ending of the first issue, it seemed that we would be launching into the meat of this event in this issue. Instead, however, we have the convergence of characters upon Monument Valley as everyone prepares for the fight that they spent the last issue preparing for. This event, which began picking up steam two months ago in X-O Manowar, is beginning to lose momentum.

That being said, this isn’t a bad issue. Armor Hunters #2 is fairly enjoyable, only because some of the dialogue and character work is fairly interesting, with the exception of that of the Armor Hunters. There are a few attempts at character progression, but there’s really no reason to care about any of these characters. Sure, the last issue of X-O Manowar did a good job of making readers (well, at least me) care about two of the Armor Hunters, but in this issue, it’s practically impossible to distinguish the Armor Hunters from one another. The characters on Earth, however, are a completely different story. Every character in this issue gets their moment to shine. Aric, of course, gets many such moments, the best being his dialogue with the Armor Hunters, and his confusion at why they would target and destroy innocent civilians, reminding us of how out of place he is.

Other characters also manage to get great character moments. The colonel, in a rare showing of emotion, gets her’s when she vents her frustration. It’s a brief moment, however, it’s most definitely a good one. Bloodshot and Livewire, both of whom show up in this issue for some reason, also get cool character moments, with Bloodshot getting a few great pieces of dialogue. Then there’s the Eternal Warrior and Ninjak, who show up for a total of two pages, but in that time manage to steal the show, even though they only have three lines of dialogue between the two of them. These are all characters that readers will have reason to care about – if they happen to be reading other Valiant books. It’s definitely awesome to see the acknowledgement of the larger universe, however it feels like Venditti was just pulling in as many characters as he can just for the sake of having them show up.

Even Livewire, who probably has the largest role of the characters who are brought in from around the Valiant universe in this issue, will feel like a throwaway character if you don’t know who she is, or her “significance” to the plot. Even though some of these scenes are strong scenes on their own, they don’t do anything for the larger plot of Armor Hunters. It seems that, at this point, the simplicity of the plot is coming back to bite Venditti. Really, all there is to the plot is that the Armor Hunters show up in orbit around Earth and want to kill Aric. It’s simple. In many cases, that would be fine, it it were handled correctly. However, Armor Hunters is really just beginning to feel like it’s treading water and not really going anywhere.

The whole book reeks of doing just enough to make the book good, but not doing what would be required to make it great. The art is decent, but it’s nothing special. It really feels like it’s just there, and it really doesn’t exist as a method through which a story is told. The writing is fine, but it’s definitely far from the best work Venditti has done for Valiant.