Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Armorines #0 and XO Man-O-War #25 (Classic Valiant)
For several months, a secret government project has been rolling along-The Armorines. Dr. Philip Zahn is a genius scientist who's developed a set of special armour suits based off of the alien XO armour of Aric Dacia. The purpose of the Armorines is to destroy Dacia at all costs, and obliterate the XO armour, which certain higher-ups feels poses too great a threat to the world...
Set over the first issue of Armorines, and the 25th of XO Man-O-War, this story is the conclusion to what's been built up over several issues now. Does it meet expectations? Hell no, this sucks!
First, let's discuss Armorines Issue #0...
This is a pretty bad first issue! All it does is read like a Wikipedia article about the tech specs of the Armorine suits, with zero character, and basically zero plot. What character we do get is goddamn annoying! The main lead, Gunny, is a misogynistic prick who baselessly insults coworker Major Lane's skills, then calls her a bitch to her face when she 'has the nerve' to get annoyed at him. Not only does he act like that, but he's also a dick to teammate Sirot, who he calls out for grandstanding and disrespect, neither of which he actually does. Despite all this crap he pulls, he's never called out on his behaviour! The story's villain, Miss Mandrake, is a misogynisticly written character too, particularly in how her motivation for revenge is from being humiliated by a man. Now, Valiant comics hated women a whole lot less once Jim Shooter was fired, but there are still infuriating moments like this!
There are more than a few annoying moments in this issue too, such as Gunny going on like an annoying cliche about how he hates the idea of war being turned into a video game. It's not, dumbass, your armour just uses a virtual reality interface! You're still in the real world, you rimjob!
Another such moment is when Doctor Zahn is rattling on about his armours' capabilities, and how "The range of human perception is far too limited to adequately cope with the demands of a modern battlefield." Wow, way to insult all soldiers everywhere, comic! Not only is that a pretty dumb and inaccurate statement (humans will always be keener than machines, because as Doctor Who said once, computers are very sophisticated idiots), but it's sure to piss off anyone military who reads this crap!
Especially problematic is that the series' own conceit is broken! The 'government' desperately wants to rid the world of the XO armour, and they set about doing this by...making their own XO imitations! Rather defeats the purpose, doesn't it!
The artwork here is ok, but the design of the armour is terrible in the respect that they all look the same! They don't even have clear visors, so it's impossible to tell who's who unless dialogue gives it away, which is doesn't half the time! The cover is actually pretty good!
Now onto XO Man-O-War Issue #25.
First of all, you don't need to read Armorines #0 to understand this issue. The villains, Mandrake and Garrett, only had one short scene in that issue, so it's not like you're missing out on any plot points, complex motivations, or cool villainous moments if you skip it.
This issue complements Armorines #0 poorly, as nearly ten pages in, the story is near-completely focusing on the Spectar/Reese arc. This is good in that it's a halfway decent story so far, but not good in that the Armorines have only been seen so far in a couple of super brief cutaways! Once the metal mob do show up to battle Aric, there's zero plot, and all action, until everything's abruptly halted by a deus ex machina. Aric doesn't even play any part in resolving the situation!
There are other annoying qualities to this issue, like the tractor beam, which is a never-before-seen ability for the XO armour that whoever wrote this issue pulled right out of their ass!
The characters here are all dull, and not well characterised at all.
The art this issue is decent, as is the cover, though the action annoyingly blocks out the title, reducing the book to XO Ma!
This is a terrible two-parter, and even worse when you realize it was at least six months of planning, and build-up! What an anti-climactic waste of everybody's time...