Valiant Entertainment; Fred Van Lente, writer; Clayton Henry and Matt Milla, artists
As I said in the first Valiant Entertainment review, X-O Manowar Vol. 1, I’m new to the Valiant Universe. I like the Valiant Universe. And I am all in with the Valiant Universe.
But when I pick up any of these books, I have no idea what I am getting into. I do not know any of these characters except their name and and maybe what they look like, because comic book characters must have visual appeal. But even then, I know next to nothing about these characters or their concepts.
Enter: Archer and Armstrong.
I do not want to give away too much. So here are the broad strokes: a world weary immortal and a naive dove young assassin meant to kill him find themselves as partners in an adventure that includes ages old secret societies and lots and lots of humor and action.
Some people will read that and say, “Sign me up!” Like my Welcome to Level Seven co-host Daniel Butcher. Seriously, I cannot get him to stop talking about Archer and Armstrong!
But the book deserves it. It’s clever, interesting, wacky, and heart felt. There are betrayals and twists and turns and, not knowing what it meant to read an Archer & Armstrong story, I found myself truly surprised as the story, characters, and even the tone were unveiled. Yes, you do know you’re getting into a globe-trotting adventure that will delve into arcane riddles and historical figures who left behind clues to find pieces of power.
The book also goes into some surprising spiritual ideas. Keep in mind, they get into some of the Jewish myths of Lilith. They also introduce a character — the naive assassin — in a way that some of my fellow Christians may not like (and it’s totally understandable — they create an exaggeration to create an over the top innocence for Archer and his naiveté). But after doing that in issue one, in issue three we get some spiritual arguments between Armstrong, Archer, and a warrior nun (yes, this book goes there) that ends on a surprisingly profound note: “My faith is not so weak that it can be threatened by a differing opinion.”
Again, I just did not expect this book to go into those places.
And again, I didn’t know where it was going.
I just know I can’t wait to go into volume 2!
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