Valiant just keeps getting better and better. Its most recent release, Archer & Armstrong, proved to be one of my favorites so far. After seeing a preview of the second issue, I can confidently say that it’s only going to get better.
Archer & Armstrong #1 was a lot to take in: we were introduced to the titular duo, their respective histories, and their first meeting. If you need a refresher on the story, issue two gives a succinct rundown. Archer is the skilled young fighter raised in a fundamentalist compound with little contact with the outside world. His target is Armstrong, an immortal warrior and sarcastic boozehound. Armstrong’s been the target of a secret sect for ages. Unfortunately, Archer’s foster parents happen to be members of that secret sect, who in turn is in league with “the wall street cult of devil-worshippers called The One Percent.”
The previous line alone made me love the comic even more. Archer & Armstrong #2 begins with Archer’s violent reaction to learning the truth about his foster parents. He unleashes his fighting skills on some futuristic looking soldiers before turning to his parents. Archer accuses them of twisting religious scripture to suit their needs and refuses to believe what they say any longer. At the end of these preview pages, Archer is abruptly knocked out by the butt of a shotgun by one of The One Percent members. An ominous plan to sacrifice a virgin to the prince of greed is hinted at.
Well, this preview of Archer & Armstrong #2 did its job. When I finished reading this point of the story I forgot it was only a preview and panicked, thinking I didn’t get the rest of the issue. Oops. Anyway, writer Fred Van Lente does an excellent job at pacing. With so many important elements, it’s easy to get lost in a new story. Not so with Archer & Armstrong. So far the events unfold quickly enough to be exciting, but not so much that I get frustrated and wish it was slower or less complicated. I also love Van Lente’s sly cultural references: Archer’s upbringing in a religious fundamentalist compound, the devil-worshipping The One Percent. Also, I don’t know about you guys, but artist Clayton Henry made Archer look like Aaron Paul to me. And since Jesse Pinkman is one of my favorite characters on one of my favorite shows, Breaking Bad, this is a win-win situation.
Archer & Armstrong #2 releases September 5th, 2012 and I can’t wait.