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Valiant Chromium Returns: Armor Hunters #1


It’s been some twenty years since I first got a copy of the original X-O Manowar #0 from the original Valiant. It was the first “chromium” cover I recall, though it was soon followed by the likes of Superman #82 (the “return” of Superman), X-Men: Alpha, X-Men: Omega, Ninjak #1, and others.

In more recent years, such “enhanced covers” have been pretty few and far between, in my observation (though can’t go two steps without tripping over variants!). [EDITED TO ADD: Last September’s 3-D covers from DC obviously were a huge quantity of such covers, but that was a specific event and really beside the point of this post]

When Valiant announced it was bringing back the chromium covers for Armor Hunters #1 and several of the tie-ins…I was actually sorta enthused (QUITE the exception to my usual attitude toward variants and such). But then, these chromium covers hold a certain nostalgia for me beyond all the other gimmicky/”enhanced” covers.

both_armor_hunters_covers

Unfortunately, I found myself rather disappointed in this particular version of “chromium.” Taken side-by-side, I feel like there’s clearer detail on the regular cover (pictured above on the right).

compare01

Comparing this new Armor Hunters #1 to X-O Manowar #0, I feel like the classic takes the win as well, between the two with brighter, bolder detail and coloring. Granted, that may not be so much the fault of the chromium effect, but it’s there.

compare02

At an angle, the new seems more reflective, picking up glare from an overhead light in a way that somewhat obscures details where the old does not…

…to say nothing of the imprinting showing through on the new where it doesn’t the old.

ah01shiny

Armor Hunters #1–at an angle in the light–gets this dotted, sparkly effect going on.

xo00shiny

At the same sort of angle, X-O Manowar #0 does not give that effect.

To me, part of what made chromium covers what they are was being able to see the outlines on the inside/back of the cover. Armor Hunters does have that effect, so unlike Marvel‘s Age of Ultron #1 last year, I can’t really “disqualify” it from my own personal “chromium collection.” But the muted coloring/subdued tones, the “flat” reflectiveness, and the thicker cover stock of Armor Hunters leaves me truly disappointed, and planning on sticking with the regular covers from here on out.

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One Response

  1. […] there are a couple covers/editions, I recommend sticking with the standard cover…I was not suitably impressed at the “enhanced” “chromium” cover, finding it did not have the same boldness of the classic ’90s Valiant Chromium […]

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