Thursday’s Valiant Effort is all about getting you, the fans, all the information that we can throw at you about everything in the Valiant Universe. This week I have a full review of X-O Manowar #24, a prelude to this Summer’s big event, Armor Hunters. Hang around till after the review for a whole checklist and a sneak at some of the awesome artwork for Armor Hunters #1.

Valiant EffortX-O Manowar #24 – Continuing Aric’s battle with the monster called Malgam. This issue of X-O Manowar continues the prelude to Armor Hunters that started with issue #23. Writer Robert Venditi and penciler Diego Bernard layout a great story that really just leaves me with way too many questions, but in a good way. The first half of this issues continues the knock down drag out fight between Aric and Malgam, seemingly ending with Aric cutting Malgam’s forearm off only to see the armor that he is joined with regrow in place of the severed appendage. This is similar to something we saw happen in earlier issues to Aric after the armor was taken from him during his battle with the Unity squad. Malgam mentions fighting against the armor. What could this mean? Is the armor in some way trying to take control of its host?

In the end, with Aric unconscious, his own armor fights back against Malgam and slips tendrils up the creature’s nose and knocks him out. We knew the armor had a will of it’s own, to a point, but it always seemed to be more passive. This response shows something more at work and it will be interesting to see what further developments are uncovered as the armor hunting continues…

Meanwhile, at M.E.R.O., Colonel Capshaw is not happy. She sent Aric on a “simple flyby” mission and he got into a huge battle that may have global implications. Aric brings Malgam’s body back for them to store and study and then heads home, to not a little bit of protestation from the Colonel.

Finally, we see our first looks at the Armor Hunters as they hunt down and kill a being on the planet Ba’ek who is wearing very familiar looking armor. Quartz, Helix, Gin-Gr, and their leader, Primary, leave the planet with some interesting statements. The planet Ba’ek is a desolate ruin. Quartz asks what they supposed the planet looked like before… and Primary says “Alive.” Then, as they leave, they are setting off a planet-wide decontamination procedure and proceeding to the next “outbreak”. Perhaps the armor is really some sort of living entity that they are charged with eradicating? We know very little of the Vine technology. All these questions and more will be answered… but not this month. You really need to pick this book up because there is a short intro to the Armor Hunters series and more cryptic statements. Also, the last pages are some really cool penciled pages and explanations.

Speaking of first looks at Armor Hunters, check out these pages:

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Finally, I will leave you with an Armor Hunters checklist so that you know what to make sure is on your pull list in order to get every issue of this far reaching series. Should be a fun summer. If you need to catch up, check out previous Valiant Efforts. Remember, Read Valiant First.

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