Monday, September 3, 2012

Advance Review: Archer & Armstrong #2

Archer & Armstrong #2
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Clayton Henry
Color Art: Matt Milla

I enjoyed Archer & Armstrong's debut last month, but I know a lot of people had their issues with it. After reading this second issue, I think that Archer & Armstrong is Valiant's biggest shot at a mainstream comics hit.

Archer & Armstrong does a great job of mixing humour with globe-trotting adventure, martial arts action, and a heavy dose of satire directed mostly at conspiracy theory nuts who can't get enough of hack genre fare like The Da Vinci Code or the National Treasure movies.

This issue finds Archer & Armstrong making a temporary alliance to find the pieces of the Boon before The Sect (aka The 1% aka The Cult of Mammon) can. They travel to Italy and meet a tommy-gun toting nun named Tommy who helps them break into the secret Vatican vaults (of course) which contains another piece of the Boon, but not before encountering the The Sisters of Perpetual Darkness, black-eyed ninja nuns who lurk in secret Vatican crypts and who may-or-may not be vampires, it's hard to tell honestly.

Like many of the artists in the Valiant relaunch, Clayton Henry is someone I'd never heard of before, but who is doing a great job on this title. More than any other book, Archer & Armstrong reminds me of a Marvel comic book in terms of style and tone, and while that might not appeal to readers of Harbinger or Bloodshot, it has a better chance I think of appealing to readers outside of Valiant's hardcore fan base.

I wouldn't want every Valiant book to be like this, as I'm currently loving the more realistic take on science fiction featured in Bloodshot and Harbinger, but it's a nice change of pace and a hell of a lot more fun than most books I'm reading from Marvel and DC these days.

If none of the other Valiant comics have appealed to you so far, give Archer & Armstrong a try. If you are following the other Valiant titles, then let me tell you that this is one comic you don't want to miss.

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