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ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG Early Review and Preview

It's been 18 years since the last on-going Archer and Armstrong book came out. Valiant brings back the classic book for a whole new generation.

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If you haven't noticed, Valiant Entertainment is back and revamping all the classics for a new generation of readers. One of the things these books are doing well is keeping old readers interested while keeping it new reader friendly.

The newest Valiant revamp hits your LCS this Wednesday: ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG. This new series is written by Fred Van Lente (INCREDIBLE HERCULES, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN), penciled by Clayton Henry (ALPHA FLIGHT, EXILES), and color by Matt Milla (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, X-FACTOR).

The new ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG is about Obadiah Archer, a young man on a mission to kill the Great Satan of his parent's religious sect. It seems that drunken immortal, Armstrong, is Archer's target.

First thing I really enjoyed about this book was that although I've never reader Archer & Armstrong before, I thought this was incredibly new reader friendly. It seems to be a reboot to the series, and we get a nice back story to Obadiah Archer. That's what this book does best. It sets up the overall story and main character well enough in the opening pages, but keeps it brief enough to get right into the story. It's fantastic set-up and gets the reader ready for the rest of the series.

Watching Archer step into the real world, since the religious compound he came from is well, not the real world, was a pretty cool moment, especially to see him navigate the mean streets of New York City and Times Square. Archer doesn't understand how people talk to each other and "playing around" which leads to a great fight scene with Archer, some bar patrons, and the first meeting with Armstrong.

I enjoyed these fight scenes quite a bit. It's established early-on he knows what he's doing and he's extremely good at it. During this scene, we get our first look at Armstrong. I like this dynamic. Archer is small, skillful, and seems like he's from a different world. Archer is large, informal, and hulking. It's the age old idea of "opposites attract," but hey, it works and it's incredibly interesting here.

Variant Cover
Variant Cover

The art in this first issue is wonderful. Aside from downright looking great, the panel layouts are fresh every page and this doesn't fall victim to "middle shot syndrome." One thing that impressed me the most was the character design for these guards of the One Percent. Although we only see these guys in a few panels, I found myself enamored with how awesome they looked. It was a fantastic design.

Sadly, as great as the art is on the book, I did have a problem with some disappearing backgrounds. While I understand that in some panels, the artist really wants focus on a certain action, but it really takes me out of the book when the background is just a flat color and there is no detail. This only becomes distracting to me a couple times in the issue because rest of the issue's art is incredibly solid and pretty to look at.

Overall, I was extremely happy with how this issue turned out and felt extremely welcomed as a new reader. This book features fantastic characters and a kick off to a great story. The art is top notch from start to finish, except for the few problems I had with disappearing backgrounds. I highly recommend this book.

4 out of 5!
4 out of 5!

Here's a look at the start of the new series, which hits your local comic book store on Wednesday, August 8th.

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