Rebellion on the cards

Publisher: Valiant
Writers: JJ O’Connor & Brian Buccellato
Penciller: Miguel Sepulveda (with Manuel Garcia)
Inker: Raül Fernández
Colourist: Rex Lokus
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover Artist: Bagus Hutomo

When last we left the Amorclads Peris had been taken away to the city and Lela found herself as the leader of a rebellion. We return to exactly where the last issue left off. Peris is about to find out that he might be the key to an ancient myth an Lela is taking the captured Alphans and her army of fellow grubs to march on the city and rescue Peris.

So there’s two storylines going on and both really work. There’s quite a lot of plot development in each of them. In Lela’s storyline we have Ironclads who, now they have the upper hand, need to ask how do they deal with the captured Alphans? They also A-Team up their suits with Armorclads parts and take on the dangers of the planet. Meanwhile Peris’s storyline expands things out further. Turns out there were once mythical suits with the potential to alter the balance of power within the galaxy. Peris spends much of time with new Governor, Dohman, but can he trust him?

This issue does a lot to expand out the world of the Armorclads. The myth of seven families, families with seven suits who destroyed each other leaving the suits only as stories told to children is really intriguing. The suits would be in a different league. I like how it seems like both the Xeruans and Alphans have these tales in their history showing again that there is some shared history there between them. The idea that there might be genetic markers from the old seven families present in people like Peris (spoilers) is also interesting, especially give how he could have been executed on the spot, his life was worth so little. The suits we’ve already seen are no longer just weapons, or tools, but part of something bigger culturally.

Not to say that the suits aren’t cool. The beefed up Ironclad suits with Armorclad add ons are great designs. The suits feel very real in the art and as always there are some great actions scenes (welcome back giant bugs!). I especially love anything with a cannon going off and blasting the innards from a giant bugs. It feels very sci-fi horror action movie style and I very much appreciate the effort in the art on all levels. The battles really play out so well.

I also really like the quieter moments too. The long line of Alphans being escorted by the Ironclads as they wind over and through the terrain is a nice bit of detail. I really appreciated the effort to make them look individual which is not always easy to do when there are plenty of characters some of whom are far away perspective-wise. It is really effective. Plus there’s the way these once invincible soliders must lean on each other without their suits, showing there is come compassion, if only for each other. It makes you see the Alphans as people as much as we did for the Ironclads, even though we don’t get named Alphans (we know ranks for some but not names) we do at least get a sense of them as people. Our sympathies and allegiance lie with the Ironclads but I like how the Aplahans are not the out and out villians we;ve seen previously. There is at least some layers to them.

The theme of this issue does seem to about the two different groups dynamic. The defeated Alphans who aren’t going to take their defeat well for obvious reasons versus the kids they enslaved. There’s some interesting dynamics at play once the kids have the upper had. Jac gets some good character moments with action especially (and gained a little cheer from me in the process). Then there’s Peris who is talking to Governor Dohman, how much can he trust him? As a reader I was sceptical I can only imagine Peris’s thought processes, after all there’s his general issues with authority and his fervour against those who enslaved him playing a key role in his action and thoughts up to this point.

Peris is of course away from his friends having been taken to and imprisoned in the city, the design of which is excellent. It’s very blocky and blue and reminds me of classic future sci-fi design of cities. It’s a stark contrast to the mines and the jungles. It seems a very clinical place, bright and shiny but lacing heart. Th rooms are plain, bright but there isn’t a lot else to them. The clean lines and bright colours give the impression of futuristic tech but also coldness, which reflects well how Peris feels about the Alphans generally.

I also must say that Lela continues to impress in her leadership role as she rallies together the Ironclads. Gradually they are being fleshed out and we are slowly getting to know them better. There’s not a lot of development per se but there is character work going on. Lela certainly feels quite a real character and seems to be stepping into her own. I look forward to seeing how she develops as the leader of a larger rebellion. She does get a great classic leadership speech moment and it works well (the cheer is well earned).

Overall this is another strong issue. I love how this expands out the mythology and detail, pushing things in a new direction. Not to mention there’s the usual great art designs and action scenes. I am intrigued as to where the Armorclads will go next and what lies in the future for the new and improved Ironclads.

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