X-O MANOWAR #26 focuses completely on how Reebo became the Armor Hunter Primary. In this story from the past, Reebo and his partner have their first run-in with someone wearing the armor. The story builds upon the main Armor Hunters story arc which delves into the idea that it doesn't matter who is wearing the armor, at some point, the armor or the wearer will destroy planets and whole systems.
Spoilerzone: There's a big part of this issue that ties into an earlier issue of X-O MANOWAR. We'll be blacking this area out for obvious reasons. In earlier issues of X-O, we saw another person wearing armor similar to Aric's, named Malgam. Well it turns out that was actually Primary Reebo's partner before they hunted down armor. That little revelation really gives a ton of depth to Reebo and why he's hunting down these armors, aside from the actual story provided by Robert Venditti and artist Diego Bernard.
This issue quickly dissolves into the man in the bar telling tall tales to anyone who will listen, after Reebo and his partner have their first run in with an armor-wearer. The tail end of this book is wonderful. It's a great lead in to the next issue, and we get to see the affect the battle had on these characters, down the road. They're beaten down. They're changed, and it's a really cool and natural character transition from the opening to the ending of this issue.
The art on this book is great and does a solid job of telling the story. Diego Bernard (pencils), Alisson Rodrigues (inks), and Brian Reber (colors) have some fantastic looking splash pages that are bright and wonderfully drawn. The action in this issue is crisp and clear and incredibly exciting. Bernard truly does a great job at keeping each page fresh by changing up perspectives and putting incredible amounts of detail in each panel. Artistically, this is an exciting issue to read.
The downside to this issue is that there isn't any Aric in this issue. This issue solely focuses around Reebo and where he came from. It feels like this is more of a mini-series tie-in than anything else. While it's a good story and one that needs to be told, the fact it's interrupting this series, while this event is going on, is a bit of a bummer.
The Armor Hunters storyline continues to live up to the hype and is easily one of the more interesting summer events currently happening in comics. Venditti, Bernard, Rodrigues, and Reber provide some incredibly fun storytelling that expands quite a bit on one of the members of the Armor Hunters, Primary. There's even a deeper connection to Primary and the armor which will change a lot of fans views on this character who actually comes off here as pretty compelling. However, this issue feels more like it should be a mini-series tie-in than interrupting the main X-O MANOWAR book, but all-in-all, X-O fans will love this issue.