I’m happy to report that Armor Hunters is a crossover done right. The story was epic, every book added something, and I’m glad I bought and read all five trades in paying attention to this series. I’m going to review them individually as well below.
I’ll also note that I used the suggested reading order on Reddit which went like this:
Armor Hunters #1/4
X-O Manowar #26
Armor Hunters #2/4
Armor Hunters: Bloodshot #1/3
Armor Hunters: Harbinger #1/3
X-O Manowar #27
Armor Hunters #3/4
Armor Hunters: Bloodshot #2/3
Armor Hunters: Harbinger #2/3
X-O Manowar #28
Armor Hunters: Harbinger #3/3
Armor Hunters: Bloodshot #3/3
Armor Hunters #4/4
X-O Manowar #29
Armor Hunters: Aftermath #1
So I had a lot of flipping between books. This order worked really well and I suggest reading them in this order as well – though you could read XO 26-28 as a prequel series and get 29 in its place and it’d work just as well, perhaps better.
Onto the series.
XO Manowar has been followed to earth by an alien army that will stop at nothing but to see the Armor destroyed. They attack earth, including an installation that has an alien that Alric captured that is slowly morphing into the armor. Alien starships. Giant robots. Battles with aliens. It’s all here. Great pulp action adventure at its finest, never a dull moment. I would say the Aftermath issue at the end is a bit slow, really a full issue of denouement, but it was separated out and labeled Aftermath so I knew what I was getting into there. As a big event, with Earth getting attacked big, lots of destruction and chaos, the heroes all playing their part to make sure Earth is safe again – I loved every second of it. This should be event comic writers required reading.
Art was excellent in it. Cool aliens. Cool designs. Lots of background detail so we didn’t feel like characters fighting against a white screen. Figures drawn great. Colors engaging. I was very happy all the way around. Aftermath again suffered compared to the main book but it was fine for what it was.
I’m pleased and would recommend people read at least the first couple trades of XO Manowar first to get a feel for the characters, or perhaps as much as I have in the Valiant Universe for a lot of depth, but this is a great jumping on point and great read. 10/10
Unity Volume 3
This was on the weaker side for the event, which is still a strong comic. Still, with the others to contend with, the unity storyline of the event came down to fighting alien dog things then Livewire doing some techie thing to stop some alien probes. Pretty simple and drawn out into 4 issues. Thus is somewhat the issue with events in a nutshell, as the tie ins can tend to suffer. But by suffer I still mean this was a really fun comic. It’s very quick to read and very light on dialogue. Certainly doesn’t work without the context of the Armor Hunters main event as a book by itself.
Art is fine. It’s got early 2000s forward standard style with medium to light detail on the background. The colors aren’t exciting but aren’t offputting either.
Decent fun, adds texture to Armor Hunters but not a lot of deapth. 7/10
Armor Hunters: Bloodshot
I haven’t loved Bloodshot a lot thus far. It’s been fine, but a little too dark for my tastes. This continues here, but actually this may be my favorite volume of Bloodshot I’ve read so far. I like seeing him work with Unity and the Colonel from XO Manowar to stop the aliens. I love the battle between ever-healing Bloodshot and ever-healing alien in XO Armor. The storyline is simple, but it progresses and adds nice depth to the overall Armor Hunters storyline.
The art is dated looking, 90s with a lot of grittiness, good for Bloodshot, but not my favorite. The colors are a bit washed out and make it have a dated 90s look even moreso.
Fun, pure gorey action and not much to complain about. 8/10
Armor Hunters: Harbinger
This is probably my least favorite installment here. I like seeing Faith but her comments are getting a little old at this point. I don’t really care much about the Generation Zero heroes even from the last event, Harbinger Wars, and there hasn’t been a ton of time for them to develop to where they mean much to me. There’s too many and with the frantic pace of the event, I lose track of who’s who to some extent. There’s blurbs to tell me, but that just means the characters aren’t standing out enough on their own for me to recognize. Makes it difficult. If there’s one book in the series to skip, I’d say this is it.
The art is fine. Everyone tends to have these perplexed stiff faces through a lot of the panels though. The colors save it as they’re pretty vibrant on this.
If you really like Generation Zero or Faith, maybe worth the pick up, but it’s an isolated spot that plays off one major point in Armor Hunters, not the most necessary of them. 6/10
XO Manowar vol 7.
This makes it all worthwhile. Now, you can’t go into this thinking you’re going to get much Aric or XO, but Robert Venditti has told one of the finest space opera tales I’ve ever seen in comics in issues 26-28 with an amazing origin story, great action and resolution. For characters I didn’t meet and didn’t care about before, for enemies of Aric, I really began to care about them and this made the Armor Hunters event way more interesting than it would have been otherwise. 29 deals with Malgam and the aftermath of it, but with the set up in 28 I care about Malgam a lot more than I used to as well. Fine comic storytelling.
The art can get a bit repetitive at points with just action shots even when in talky scenes. The colors are good in that they’re vibrant but they are lacking a little bit in detail which makes those backgrounds wash together a bit and makes the art look sparse. Not perfect, but the storytelling aspects of it are so it’s fine.
I loved this story so much. Even with the medium-like of the art, it surpassed my expectations so much I give it a thumbs up. 9/10