I really dug Fred VanLente’s Archer & Armstrong run. So, why did I put it aside for so long?
Because the fifth volume was a crossover with the Bloodshot and the H.A.R.D.Corps series, and the fifth volume of that series took place around the crossover, subtitled Mission Improbable.
At first glance, Bloodshot and Archer & Armstrong are probably the two weirdest books Valiant had to crossover. Bloodshot was a serious, often violent and gory tale of a soldier, his mind wiped by the mysterious Project Rising Spirit, an organization he since rejoined to work with the different members of the H.A.R.D.Corps, ordinary men and women who get cybernetic implants allowing them to access one psiot-style superpower at a time. Archer & Armstrong is a comedic buddy comedy about a boy raised by religious zealots working with the immortal boozehound he was initially sent to kill. The tones alone seem to be at odds with each other.
As it turns out, Bloodshot can be a little silly when it needs to be. He and Armstrong, a pair of superstrong bruisers who don’t die easily, do come briefly to blows, but the longer fight with the nanite-infused assassin comes with Archer. Archer, as long suspected, is a Psiot, and has his own history with Project Rising Spirit, and that group wants him back. Bloodshot takes the case but later feels differently about it, and the H.A.R.D.Corps’ members aren’t hard to convince to help when it comes to a largely friendly lad who doesn’t really want to kill anybody. Along the way, Archer and the reader learns (most) of Archer’s story and what exactly his previously hinted-at psiot powers actually are.
The Archer & Armstrong material doesn’t last as long, but there is more of Bloodshot as his book sandwiched the crossover. First he goes on a mission, then he finds himself on the outs with P.R.S. and hunted by the H.A.R.D.Corps for a crime he didn’t commit. As such, he’s back on his own again, but for now, lets say that Archer & Armstrong gets a eight and a half out of ten drunken rescues and Bloodshot gets a seven and a half out of ten unexpected head explosions.