Group Review: Archer & Armstrong #0

Each of the participating writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give the issue a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass along with a short reason for the score. Here’s a blurb about the issue from Valiant Comics before we begin: Once upon a time…a baby went into Project Rising Spirit…

Who is Obadiah Archer, where did he come from, and how can he do the incredible things that he can do? (Which is everything, remember?) Fresh off the shocking conclusion of the Sect Civil War, learn the startling truth behind Archer’s origin with an exciting look into his secret past by Valiant superstar Fred Van Lente and fan favorite artist Pere Perez!

Eric: BUY

I’m a huge fan of this series if you couldn’t tell already but what’s nice about this book is the change of pace. It’s been all action, suspense, and mystery.  But you know what else is good this story it gives a great back story to Archer. We always knew there was something about Archer. This ties in so many questions together and moves well to the next arc. It not a fast moving comic but is filled with lots of history. This also explains why P.R.S. wants Archer and how dangerous he can be. I would say it stands alone in its own way for the series. The detail in the art and color makes it come alive. It makes you feel like you are there and also that you are actually looking at a debriefing screen.

This book goes well with what is going and is perfect to bring in new readers. I may be a little bias here but this book kicks ass and it’s just the start of the fight that is coming up. Buy because it’s the perfect jumping on point and just adds to the universe that is Archer and Armstrong.


Neil: BUY

Wow, Fred Van Lente hits it out of the park again.  The secret origin of Archer was both awesome and sad at the same time.  By the end of the issue I really felt for Archer, and I understood why archer became the bad ass fighter he is, and you really grasp why Archer left the Sect and why he dislikes them. My favorite moment in the book was when he meets Mary-Maria.  I enjoyed how their relationship grew even though they were brought to this group against their will.  It was nice to see that they developed a strong relationship in such an awful environment and how Archer could keep part of his sanity because of Mary-Maria. The art as always consistent, polished and colorful, a staple that you would expect from this great comic book.   A must buy for Archer and Armstrong fans.

Adam: PASS

I thought I would like this book because I recently got into Valiant’s reboot of Shadowman, but I was wrong.  Maybe if I followed the series this origin issue would be interesting, but for me there was way too much dialogue, way too many characters, and it just failed to pull me in at any point of the story.  There wasn’t anything that was very unique or different about this origin which was also disappointing.  The Archer’s obsession with religion while killing people was weird as well.  I’m curious as to see what other people thought of this especially if they were fans of the series prior to this, but for me it’s definitely a pass.


Steve: BUY

Pretty shamefully, Archer & Armstrong is one of the few Valiant titles I’ve fallen behind on for some reason. After reading Archer #0, however, that’s all about to change.

Fred Van Lente does a great job of both succinctly and interestingly retelling Archer’s origins before and during his time with Archer Ministries, crafting a lost character who is both piteous and terrifying against his less-forgivable, hypocritical captors. Following Archer through his quick but steady transformation in this book is easy, engaging and dripping with distilled pathos, and I’ve never been more interested in the character.

In the same way, Perez’s art style here is simple, yet evocative when it needs to be, especially as regards the kinetic expressiveness of his characters. Props too go to colorist David Baron for establishing a bright, even cheery color palette that belies the story’s insidiousness: a great visual representation of Archer’s own upbringing.

Archer #0 inspires me to catch up on the series’ regular ongoing action pretty sharpish. What more could you ask of a zero issue?


Dustin: BUY

I’ve always enjoyed Archer & Armstrong and though the series has had its ups and downs in my opinion, it’s one I always come back to. The reason being that I really like both Archer and Armstrong, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be Archer aka Obie hands down. There was always something really cool and interesting about him and so to discover he’s a pisot only made him cooler. If you don’t know, I’m a huge fan of Valiant’s Harbinger which is all about pisots.

His origin is just awesome. I really wanted to read more and more of Obie growing up. I hope that the series touches on his real family and finding his true identity, but if it waits that’s even better. It gives Obie an old skool Wolverine vibe if he doesn’t know his past. Really I would settle for him learning more about his powers because that will certainly add a new layer to this series. I enjoyed the hell out of this issue; the writer was spot on and the art was the perfect fit for the style of comic this is.

Score: 4 Buys and a Pass

Writer: Fred Van Lente Artist: Pere Perez Colorist: David Baron Letterer: Tom B. Long Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 2/5/14