Armstrong and Mary-Maria Archer are teamed up helping the Roanokes fight General Redacted. Archer (Obie) comes face to face with a religion the follows his word. Also, a Valiant favorite returns and has no problem being naked.
Once again, the opening page to this issue is awesome. If you've ever seen the movie Patton or a movie that parodies General Patton's speech to the third army, then you'll get a good kick out of the opening to this issue which is General Redacted speaking to his alien army. Writer Fred Van Lente and artist Pere Perez have been doing a stellar job with the opening pages of this book. They're humorous, witty, and they keep the reader's interested in the upcoming story. It's the ultimate attention getter.
Archer (Obie) learns that he's a lot more important to the future than he ever would have thought. His words and future writings have inspired a new generation of people, from the future. It's a great dialogue between Archer and these characters as he challenges them, which in turn seems to be challenging his own word. It's smooth-moving dialogue between the characters and it keeps the reader on their toes.
This next section is going to be all blacked out because of a few spoilers. Ivar Anni-Parda AKA The Timewalker returns! He has been stuck in all of time, and after Archer releases him from his time bubble prison, he has to play the catch-up game, being that he knows everything that happens to Archer in the future. It's a humorous scene, and Ivar spoils quite a bit for Archer as he tries to get a grip on where and when he is. This is by far my favorite introduction to a new character in this book.
The fight between Armstrong and the alien spaceships is a bit quick but incredibly satisfying. The best part of Armstrong's fighting style is that many times he fumbles himself into a victory. Yes, that happens here as well. This leads to a great ending for the issue, which may change the group dynamic between Archer, Armstrong, and Mary-Maria.
Pere Perez does a fantastic job on the art side of things in this book, especially with that stoic final page. Perez's art is consistent throughout the issue, and does a great job and heightening the tone of Van Lente's writing. A&A is a double threat. Not only does it have an amazing story, but it looks amazing too. Where else can you see a man punch an alien through the face, then get grossed out he has green goo on his fists? Not in any other comic, that's for sure.
The title of the issue is "500 Shades of Grey." Insert chuckles here.
There's a bit of the old disappearing background in this issue. Understandably, it was established that the sky in the Faraway is white, so you get away with a bit more in some panels. However, there are a couple panels, featuring Mary-Maria and Armstrong in a tepee, which has a white background as well.
There's only so many ways you can say "ARCHER & ARMSTRONG is a book more people should be reading." The truth is that while there are a ton of books on the shelves worth your time, ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG deserves it the most. It may not be what most people are used to with their comic book reading, but there is a great sense of familiarity with a dominant creative team putting this book together every month. This issue in particular was very exciting because it was non-stop action that remained witty and reintroduced someone awesome. Overall, I highly recommend this issue.