Archer & Armstrong: Archer #0
Written by Fred Van Lente
Illustrated by Pere Perez
Lettered by Tom B. Long
Covers by Clayton Henry, Joe Eisma, Andy Kuhn
Release Date: February 5, 2014
Cover Price: $3.99
I love the Archer & Armstrong title from Valiant Universe. It’s a witty, funny, exciting, odd-couple adventure that explores the relationship of two diametrically opposed companions, who still somehow remain friends.
The origin story of Archer, though, as presented in Archer & Armstrong: Archer #0… I’m not so much a fan of.
I won’t go into any spoilers here in this review, but the origin of Archer de-mystifies him. While it pulls him closer into the heart of the Valiant Universe (aiding in upcoming crossovers), it simultaneously takes away some of the very unique aspects of the title. And while Archer & Armstrong has dipped into some dark places in the past, this issue is particularly dark and disturbing.
The revisiting of the Archer family’s perversion of Christianity is particularly unsettling.
Don’t get me wrong, Fred Van Lente’s script is strong. The story itself moves fast and focuses on characterization in the midst of the plot. It’s just that this new knowledge makes Archer & Armstrong feel a little more like Valiant’s Harbinger or Bloodshot titles than the light-hearted, buddy-buddy title I’ve been reading so far.
Pere Perez has some great art in here, too. He takes the lighter style of Archer & Armstrong and adds the layers of darkness this story needs, without changing the artistic “feel” of the title.
So, I don’t like the direction this takes Obadiah Archer, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an objectively good story. It is. And it also puts our characters in the right place for their upcoming conflict with Bloodshot and Project Rising Spirit.
If you’ve doubted that Valiant could bring Archer & Armstrong into the main universe, pick up this issue and doubt no more.