Archer and Armstrong, one of Valiant Comics more interesting duos, is back for a new on-going series, in A&A. Armstrong is an immortal who has spent the last 7,000 years since his home the ancient city of Ur was destroyed, carousing and drinking with some of History’s greatest partiers. Archer is a teenaged martial arts master who grew up inside the Sect a religious organization bent on destroying an evil immortal known to them as “The One Whose Name Is Never Spoken,” which funnily enough turns out to be Armstrong. When Archer is sent out into the world to assassinate Armstrong, things do not go exactly as planned. He learns of the horrible things his adoptive parents do to their “children” and the real goal behind the Sect, which is destroying the world to rebuild it in their own image. So he teams up with Armstrong and handily defeat the Sect and begin to travel the world together as friends and partners. You can read all about this in the 2012 series from Valiant’s relaunch.
The dynamic between the 7,000 year old immortal drunk, and the kid raised by religious fanatics is remarkable, Archer is still new to so much of the world, while Armstrong seems to know every single bar in every town they visit. Archer refuses to swear or act in anyway that would go against his beliefs which is commendable, but it adds a lot to the humor of the book, as Armstrong has been around so long that he has stopped caring about a lot, do not get me wrong he likes to help people and he is a very loyal friend, but he can be uncouth and his memory is not what it used to be.
This issue starts with a flashback of Armstrong and his friend Frankie retrieving something from a restaurant owned by the mob, in 1953. In the present Armstrong learns that Frankie has died and while he reaches into his satchel for something does not find it. So the only logical thing to do is to go into his satchel to find it. The satchel is endless, it contains many things that Armstrong has collected over the centuries, many he does not remember putting in there.
Archer later returns from a trip to the store for groceries to find their hotel room filled with lizard men, which he quickly takes care of. He finds a note from Armstrong that he has gone into the bag to find something important. A creature known as Davey the Mackerel tries to escape from the bag, and tells Archer of a great and ancient evil that is trying to escape from the bag. So Archer decides to go in after him in order to save him from the evil, and to stop things from escaping the bag.
Inside the bag Archer finds what looks to be a city, inhabited by goblins. He learns that Armstrong keeps all his secret stuff in the lower levels that are off limits to the goblins. Finally when Archer locates Armstrong, he notices that the room he is in is filled with alcohol, and admonishes him for the careless endangerment of the world by the leaving the bag open with a rope leading out, just so he could get drunk. That is when the great evil reveals itself.
The writing of Rafer Roberts, an up and coming star, known for his own series Plastic Farm, as well as art for the books Harbinger and X-O Manowar, both from Valiant, is superb. The characters feel alive and real, you can feel the emotion that is conveyed in a lot of the dialogue. The art by David Lafuente, who has worked for Marvel on books such as Ultimate Spider-Man and New Mutants, is also spectacular. He has a way of making certain panels very serious but at the same time the following panel may be ridiculous and just plain silly, whatever the story needs at the time, mostly the silliness comes from the facial expressions from Archer. I’m greatly anticipate the next issue as we continue to delve into the depths of Armstrong’s satchel.
Title: A&A: The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong
Issue No. 1
Release Date: March 16, 2016