Valiant Entertainment is the publisher of one of the most entertaining universes of comics out there. Like DC and Marvel, the characters of Valiant share a universe. They meet and interact with sometimes humorous and sometimes disastrous results. The line is much tighter than DC or Marvel however with only 1 or 2 books coming out most weeks. Within that smaller number of titles is a bit of something for everyone.
The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong is a new #1 title hitting comic shops and the digital market on March 16th. The book is written by rising star Rafer Roberts with pencils by David Lafuente, inks by Ryan Winn and colors by Brian Reber. Despite the new #1 though, the main characters in the story are not new so it might be helpful to have a bit of an introduction.
Armstrong – The character has a bit of a back story. Several millennia of backstory in fact although he doesn’t remember most of it due to the fact that he spent most of it drunk. Armstrong (not his original name) has been walking the Earth for around 6000 years. During most of this time he has been drinking, carousing, and generally getting in and out of trouble. He is incredibly strong and durable and can handle just about anything the world throws his way. He carries a satchel that seems to nearly infinitely large on the inside which is important for this first story arc.
Archer – Armstrong’s loyal friend has been on Earth for less than 20 years but has mastered essentially all martial arts and is an expert marksman particularly with his trusty crossbow. In the past, he has shown the ability to duplicate any ability mastered by humans or by superhumans although the latter is not in evidence here. He tends to take life much more seriously than his aged accomplice. Just keeping Armstrong on the straight and narrow is a chore for anyone and perhaps the stress is getting to Archer a bit. Oh and Archer was raised in a cult to kill Armstrong but they have managed to move past that fortunately.
Mary-Maria – Archer’s adopted sister (in the cult) and his one-time crush (I know). She also once did the horizontal mambo with Armstrong (I know). She is now in charge of The Sisters of Perpetual Darkness – a group of assassin ninja-nuns (I know).
Issue #1 takes us inside Armstrong’s mysterious satchel. To honor a fallen comrade, Armstrong has gone into the satchel to find a particular item. Unfortunately, with the satchel open things start coming out that simply shouldn’t be in our world. It turns out that entire cultures of strange creatures have flourished (maybe not the right word) within the world of the satchel.
Archer decides that to fix things he needs to go into the satchel himself (bad idea) and he calls upon his step-sister Mary-Maria to be in charge of the satchel while he is inside (worse idea). One of Armstrong’s former frenemies named Bacchus (yeah that one) has built up a legion of creatures just waiting to get their mitts on their immortal foe and now is there chance.
How will A&A escape/defeat Bacchus, get the item and escape the satchel that is now in the hands of the Sisters of Perpetual Darkness? It is going to take more than one issue to get out of this pickle!
Issue #1 was a fantastic read with art that really captures the comedic side of our heroes and their predicament. This issue gets to the heart of the statement that comics should be fun. New readers should have no problem understanding what is going on and being able to follow along. If you are looking for something that is a bit outside of the mainstream but is still very accessible then I highly recommend The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong #1. The issues comes out March 16th with a cover price of $3.99.
Head over to CBR for a preview of 8 interior pages if you like that sort of thing. That is a pretty good chunk of the book so only head over if the purchase of said book is in question. Free advice.