July 21, 2024

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Comic Review: Archer & Armstrong Volume 2

Combat prodigy Archer and fun-loving immortal Armstrong are back, battling another branch of The Sect while trying to avoid Armstrong's dour brother the Eternal Warrior.

Volume One of Archer & Armstrong ended with the title duo defeating Archer’s villainous parents but at the cost of a dead Geomancer.  Armstrong knows full well what that means:  unless he and Archer can locate the new one first, then the Geomancer’s “fist and steel” will come along to finish off Archer as a penalty for the previous one dying.

And who is the fist and steel?  Armstrong’s brother Giliad, the Eternal Warrior.

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It doesn’t take long to locate the new Geomancer.  Armstrong has an enchanted book that always points in the right direction.  Of course, Giliad has an unerring way of finding a Geomancer or a Geomancer’s killer as well.  And though Archer does initially knock Giliad out, the Eternal Warrior isn’t known for quitting as long as the Earth needs him.

As it is, the Earth does.  One branch of the Sect, that superorgaization of Illuminati-type groups that all work towards the same nebulous goals, is very close to its own goal.  That group was called the Null.  They believe that existence itself is a sin and follow the slogan “nothing lasts forever”.  They tend to find immortals particularly vexing.  Over the years, the Null (whose members included Blackbeard) have kidnapped and tortured mathematicians from Archimedes to Alan Turing in order to perfect the formula derived from the concept of zero to destroy everything.

Despite all this, the book is actually largely humorous.  Giliad isn’t often very funny, but flashbacks featuring the times Armstrong assisted him (under his original name of “Aram the Strong”) often shows the more fun-loving brother screwing up.  There’s more talk about the different members of the Sect that shows a high level of creativity, and the new Geomancer is a woman who worked as a spokesperson for an energy concern and about as far from environmentally conscious as a person can get.

Fred Van Lente’s fun script and Emanuela Lupacchino’s artwork makes for another fun Valiant book.  Like all Valiant books, its done a little too soon, but I’m going to give it nine out of ten apes dressed as Mother Nature.