Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Armorines #1, #2, and #3 (Classic Valiant)
Valiant series Armorines had a very ignominious start, in my opinion. Do I think it fares any better with its first proper arc?...
The Armorines, a secret government squad of soldiers in superpowered mechanical suits, are sent on an assignment in Australia, to destroy a sunken submarine to protect its covert secrets. On their undersea journey, they come across a bevy of giant mutated sharks, and the alien masterminds behind them...
Once again, Armorines has proven itself to be a massive disappointment! This first proper story, comprising of three issues, starts off with zero establishment on who or what the Armorines are. You only know that they work for the government, but even that'll leave you confused, seeing as how unbeknownst to the Armorines members, their program's clearance was forged, and what they were doing was actually wildly illegal. I can buy that the government decided to go "Eh, when in Rome", and figured they might as well keep the Armorines around, but I wish the comic would've bothered to explain that.
Onto the plot. And that's enough about the plot. Yeah, it's one of those stories! Absolutely nothing is accomplished! This was a three issue long fight scene, and only a few pages after we're even aware of the aliens, they pussy out and hit a dead man's switch, ensuing that these issues would continue to lack a real plot, as well as a well-paced ending, or in fact a real ending at all!
Since there's barely a plot here, all we have are the characters, and they're nothing! Most are just names to us, having little personality, and ever littler dialogue, while the lead character is Gunny, who earned my ire in Issue #0! The only other one whose name I remembered was Sirot, but not because he's an actual character, but because his teammates are constantly rattling on about how shifty, rude, and unlikeable the guy is, yet we never see any examples of this behaviour, so Sirot ends up being more than tolerable in the audiences eyes, especially when the guy we're supposed to be rooting for calls his female Major colleague 'ma'am' out of misogynistic spite! A dick like this is hardly a good judge of character for Sirot!
Some more on Gunny. The guy is dumb enough to smoke despite being an active serviceman! Good job attempting to run in a combat situation, dumbass! Also, in one scene of him conversing with Major Lane, his eyes are drawn so menacingly that they don't get across "I am a morally upstanding hero", but rather "heheheheheh...rape!".
All in all, the Armorines are a crappy bunch of protagonists. There's a yardstick I measure armoured superheres by, and it's by how easily they can defeat giant mutant sharks. These schmucks take three issues to accomplish that task, and even then, they don't destroy more than a few!
Especially infuriating about this bunch is their armour-They all look the same! And dialogue rarely gives away which character we're looking at! Because of this, I couldn't tell if Sirot was having a 'rare' moment of humanity in one scene, or if it was a different character!
The writing in this story isn't that good, and there are a few problems with the dialogue here and there. First of all, there's constant narration from Gunny, and it's annoying, especially when it ruins a triumphant moment in the climax! The Armorines bust into the alien stronghold, declaring their name, and triumphant battle cry!...and Gunny immediately follows this by narrating about his uncertainty for four paragraphs! It totally spoils the moment!
Another terrible bit of dialogue comes when Gunny says "Cordova and I'll remove the nuclear core". It takes a special kind of incompetence to mangle the English language like that!
And finally, there's a moment when the story's shark expert says "Australian waters are notorious for their high number of shark attack". HA! Like hell they are! Snakes pose a much bigger threat down here than sharks! And so do coconuts! Both certainly carry a larger yearly death toll! There's usually only like ten shark-related fatalities per year at most in Australia, which might sound to be quite a bit, until you realize that snakes bite twice that many people in a week.
One last thing to discuss regarding the plot is an idiotic plan Sirot comes up with when stuck on the alien ship. He decides to ditch his armour and hide in plain sight on the nearby group of corpses, to avoid the aliens. We'll forgive the fact that this will likely guarantee that Sirot will be carted off to a dinner table, as he doesn't know what we do about the spider aliens. What's idiotic is that with the armour, he would have had more than a fighting chance against the aliens, but now, he's defenseless minus a single six-shooter, and the aliens deem the suit useless junk, which they intend on having hurled off the ship, or destroyed outright!
The art here is ok, aside from the Armorines confusion. The covers are pretty bad though. Issue #1's is boring, lacks a background, and Zahn's reaction is confusing, as if the Armorines are the Bash Street Kids. #2's is more decent, and #3's is a chaotic mess!
Armorines is continuing to be a crappy series, and I don't recommend it!...