Valiant Comics’ Armor Hunters crossover event is coming to a close very soon. In fact, I think the fourth (and final?) issue comes out this coming “New Comic Book Day”, three days from now. It has been quite a refreshing event for someone who is used to big, sweeping epic events from the Big 2, DC and Marvel. It has been small-scale in terms of how many titles it has affected, but it has been sweeping and epic in its own way. One of the titles caught up in its wake is Valiant’s superteam book Unity which launched last year and has proven to be among the top tier comics currently on shelves quite consistently..
Armor Hunters continues in the events of Unity #10 and #11 where the superteam Unity has gone up against the sentient robotic starship GIN-GR, and has had to face up to some really weird consequences of that. Not all the members of the team are involved of course since Ninjak and Gilad are, at first, up against the Armor Hunters’ ravenous hounds elsewhere before they get to Los Angeles for a showdown with GIN-GR, but there is some really great emotional story here, showing that Matt Kindt is just superb in both his plotting and his dialogue and everything. And I loved the art in both issues too, so that says something as well.
When Livewire broke into GIN-GR’s programming and caused the Armor Hunter to break down and crash-land on Earth, specifically Los Angeles, she had no idea that she would also get a full dose of GIN-GR’s history and background. The first ten pages of Unity #10 are devoted to GIN-GR’s past and of those, only the tenth page has decipherable dialogue, rest all being either in GIN-GR’s native speak, or the Hindi/Sanskrit-analogous language used by the alien who saved her. Her, yes. GIN-GR is a her. How awesome is that little detail? Quite awesome, I dare say.
Matt Kindt’s characterization of GIN-GR has to be one of the best things about these two issues, by far. I mean, I just couldn’t get enough of it, not by a long shot, and then at the end of Unity #10, Matt threw readers a big curveball that continued on blithely into Unity #11 and provided the superteam with one of its biggest challenges yet. Still, Ninjak is at hand to take care of the problem, in a kind of basic, blunt-instrument kind of way, and we see just how much of a long-term planner he is. He is someone who goes for the esoteric and strange, preferring to use his ancestral wealth on toys rather than bling-bling, so to speak.
Aside from Matt’s characterization of GIN-GR and the eccentricities of Ninjak, we also get to see some rather personal sides to Livewire and Eternal Warrior as well. That’s something that Unity has been really great on recently, especially with the all-too-brief encounter that the team had with the villain known as Dr. Silk. Livewire’s sympathetic pain when she is overloaded with GIN-GR’s life-history and how she is manipulated by the Armor Hunters, Gilad’s ruminations on his own role in history and his multiple lives’ worth of experience and knowledge, Matt really goes all-out in these two issues.
He goes into depth on what drives our heroes and the villains as well, while also giving some fantastic action moments which feel rather cinematic in their execution and are helluva fun too, in my estimation. This is not just a grand story about aliens and destructive viruses, it is also a personal story which focuses on individuals, so that they don’t get lost in the shuffle.
Based on these two issues, I’d say that Stephen Segovia absolutely deserves to do a big space opera book at either Marvel or DC, or something from Valiant itself. In the previous issues, there is usually some negative nagging in the background but that is absolutely not the case in these two issues, for these two issues are what he has been building up to all this time. Whether it is the long flashback intro with GIN-GR or all the action scenes that follow on from there in both the issues, he is at his best, by far. Colourist Matt Milla also does some amazing work in Unity #10, though we get to see Allen Passalaqua step up in that role for the succeeding issue, with guest artists Pere Perez, Brian Hurtt, Brian Level, Raul Allen, Jos Eisma and Ryan Lee also step in for the pencils/inks, when Matt Kindt gives us all the different flashbacks with Ninjak. Overall, a strong cohesive effort here as far as the art is concerned.
Damn good stuff, that’s all I gotta say.