ARMORCLADS, ISSUES #1-3
Writers: J. J. O’Connor & Brian Buccellato
Artists: Manuel Garcia & Miguel Sepulveda
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
WHAT IS IT?
An action-packed sci-fi adventure about a rebelling working class.
Think Gears of War meets The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
The planet Xeru is home to a mysterious substance called “pure” which can provide clean food and air to the city of Alpharron. Mining pure is rough and dangerous, so soldiers are genetically-engineered to obtain it. These soldiers are thrown into the fire as teenagers and forced to don their mech suits, called "Ironclads," to wrench pure from Xeru with the promise of earning their freedom. However, no one seems to live long enough to become free.
Ironclads Peris, Sam, and Lela have their world turned upside-down when Sam is trapped under a stalactite. Peris rushes to save Sam but has his suit halted by their commander because the company can’t risk losing two mech suits. Furious by their life's lack of value, Peris performs a small act of rebellion that will have massive consequences.
O’Connor & Buccellato build the world of Armorclads slowly and naturally through character interactions. They avoid info dumps and provide context as the story needs it.
Garcia and Sepulveda’s detailed panels make the planet Xeru feel alive and imposing. The reader truly gets a sense of the characters' dire predicament through the amount of background information.
Inking by Fernandez gives stunning texture and depth to each scene. Trees and plants look incredibly realistic because of the shading.
Lokus uses a wide variety of colors but manages to keep everything subdued, giving these books a noir-esque feel.
The lettering by Sharpe is well-placed and helps keep the action feeling fast and exciting.
The story is excellently paced, feeling like a quick and easy read.
Sharpe uses multiple colors and fonts in his sound effects lettering during battle scenes, making these sections feel chaotic and noisy.
Each issue ends with highly effective cliffhangers, making the reader crave what happens next.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
Certain details about the world of Armorclads could have been established earlier. In a few spots, important information that fleshes out the backstory seems to come from nowhere.
Some of the panels are very busy, which makes it hard to distinguish what action is taking place at first glance.
One of the issues has a time skip in the middle of a page, which feels awkward. This spot might have been better as a page turn or with different visual cues.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Armorclads draws from a lot of societal angst being felt by much of the world. The lowly Ironclads are told they are not slaves, yet they are treated like property with their equipment being more valuable than their lives. Freedom is supposedly theirs to obtain, but no one has ever earned it. These characters' hopeless and dim situation is incredibly relatable. It’s cathartic to watch them rebel and finally take control of their situation. The Ironclads being genetically engineered also prompts some interesting philosophical questions about humanity and personhood.
This group’s dire predicament and isolation are made more sympathetic through the stunning art. This book’s team has an intense eye for detail, accounting for even the smallest bits of sunlight peeking through tree branches. It’s an incredible display of masterful comics craft and the emotional impact of photorealism.
Armorclads is perfect for any fan of rebellious sci-fi who needs a pick-me-up.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Chicken Devil by Brian Buccellato & Hayden Sherman
Injustice: Gods Among Us – Year Five by Brian Buccellato & Bruno Redondo
Star Wars by Charles Soule & Jesus Saiz
If you like the art:
Mystique by Brian K. Vaughn & Manuel Garcia
Bloodshot by Duane Swierczynski
Hadrian’s Wall by Kyle Higgins, Alex Siegel & Rod Reis
ABOUT THE CREATORS
J. J. O’Connor – Writer
The identity of O’Connor is unknown and Valiant Entertainment has not released any information on the writer.
Brian Buccellato (@brianbooch) – Writer
Being a comics veteran, Buccellato has written titles such as Injustice: Gods Among Us, Detective Comics, and The Flash.
He is also a renowned artist having contributed to multiple Marvel, DC, and Image titles.
Buccellato began his comics writing career with Top Cow’s The Darkness.
Manuel Garcia – Penciller
Penciling comics for over 20 years, Garcia has done multiple titles for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and Valiant including Spider-man, Bloodshot, and Justice League.
He has also collaborated with Blizzard Entertainment, making art for books on Hearthstone and Starcraft.
Garcia hails from Spain.
Miguel Sepulveda – Penciller
Sepulveda has a spanning career, penciling multiple titles for Marvel, DC, Valiant, and Dark Horse, and is most known for their work on Marvel’s The Illiad and Trojan War.
He has also contributed art for Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone and Starcraft series.
Sepulveda hails from Spain.
Raul Fernandez – Inker
A prolific creator, Fernandez has also been credited as a writer, colorist, and penciller.
He’s inked multiple series for Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse, with Manuel Garcia being his frequent collaborator.
Fernandez hails from Spain.
Rex Lokus (@rexlokus) – Colorist
Lokus is a frequent collaborator in the indie sphere but has also done work for Marvel, DC, and Valiant.
He is most known for his coloring work on DC’s DC Universe Online Legends.
Lokus hosts a YouTube channel where he publishes videos of his works in progress and speed painting.
Dave Sharpe – Letterer (@daveLsharpe)
Dave Sharpe is a graduate of the Kubert School, formerly the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art. Upon graduating, he immediately went to work for Marvel where he has lettered hundreds of titles. He has also taken on lettering duties at DC, Valiant, and Aftershock Comics.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Sharpe helped run the lettering department at Marvel.
He is also the bass player for the band Dead Cowboy, a heavy metal group focused on the Central Pennsylvania music scene.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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All Armorclads characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright of Valiant Entertainment or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.