ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #1
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Clayton Henry
Release Date: August 8, 2012
This is a great comic. Valiant Entertainment has brought their “A” game with all the titles in the Summer of Valiant so far, but Archer & Armstrong is at a whole other level of awesome. Fred Van Lente writes a fantastic ‘buddy’ book. This is an unconventional duo, Archer being so green in the ways of the world and Armstrong being so experienced, but it works perfectly. Archer & Armstrong is a series filled with potential and Van Lente’s humour and heart shine through on every page. His Archer is wonderfully naive, a boy who is highly skilled and dangerous, hellbent on completing a mission he has been raised for. His world is not reality and watching realizations unfold in his mind was a great angle in this first issue. Armstrong is a raucous, rowdy, raunchy Herc-like character and all the magic of Van Lente’s Herc can be found in him. He’s a dirtier fighter than Herc, and we’re not quite sure of the moral line he walks, but rest assured that the pages he graces are filled with an energy and fun that is rarely found in comics. Van Lente has set everything up for the series just right in this first issue: we’ve got an entertaining duo, some cryptic and nasty villains, suspense, humour, intrigue, and best of all, a lot of fun.
And the artist bringing the script to life is Clayton Henry. I phrase the statement that way because Henry’s art really makes this script jump off the page. Henry’s pencils are sharp, crisp, precise and perfect for this book. This may be the best artist/writer pairing yet in the Valiant stable and I hope that Henry is settling in for a long run with Van Lente on this book. Henry handles everything in this comic well: brawling, silent moments of reflection, and some absolute craziness in the initial pages. There are splash pages in this issue that are as solid as anything you’ll find on the shelves, and I look forward to seeing more art from Henry.
This is, simply, a great comic. It is a great start to what promises to be a fun-filled action adventure with some great twists and turns from a top notch creative team.