I only have a vague understanding of the history of Valiant, and frankly, I don’t much care. I like comics, but I’m not a big fan of the Big Two. So, when a comic company starts putting stuff out, and it’s not an endless permutation of revolving villains & heroes serving on the Avengers, or yet another retelling of Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman’s origin, then I tend to be at least somewhat curious. It didn’t hurt that Valiant tapped Cary Nord to do art for one of their flagship titles, X-O Manowar. Sadly, that comic series, in spite of its promise, lost me after only a handful of issues. Same for Bloodshot, and a few of the others I tried. The one I actually ended up really enjoying, though, was Archer & Armstrong…at least as far as I got.
Volume One sees writer Fred Van Lente and artists Clayton Henry and Matt Milla introducing the titular characters. A naive ultra-human kid called Archer, who was raised by religious nuts who have a dark secret. And Armstrong, a hedonistic, slightly dim immortal trying to drown himself in booze to hide from his horrible eternal life. Enemies to partners in short order.
Volume Two switches out artists for Emanuela Lupacchino and Guillermo Ortego, though the change isn’t really noticeable. It cranks up the crazy and we start to see how deep the conspiracy goes.
Sadly, that’s as far as I got. I don’t know how far the series went after that, if it reached a nice conclusion or what. Circumstances changed and I didn’t pick up any later volumes.
If you’re a fan of weird conspiracy stuff that blends history and mythology, check this out. I was reminded of stuff like Dan Brown’s books, The X-Files, and even The Highlander. Of the comics that came out of Valiant’s relaunch, this one was probably my favorite and one I’m contemplating trying to track down and read further.
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