Welcome to another Comic Bastards group review. We’re going to keep this intro short and just tell you that each of the participating writers/reviews will be giving their thoughts on the issue along with a score. Here’s what the issue is about via Valiant:
IT ALL ENDS HERE... SERIOUSLY... THIS TIME IT LITERALLY ALL ENDS HERE. (MAYBE?!) Be here front and center as the original creative team of Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry lead off a 48-page A & A hollapalooza honoring Valiant's most dysfunctional duo! Plus: the official Archer & Armstrong drinking game! Armstrong's first drink! A very special Timewalker adventure! And much more!
I’m just going to say it; I love this title. I love the characters. I love the stories and I love the humor. The great thing about this issue being the anniversary special is every writer has captured the essence of what I have read before and grown to love. What makes this story so good is the classic straight man with the slob comic pairing. Sure my favorite character is Armstrong but he really wouldn’t be anything without Archer. This issue is jammed packed with mini stories from the beginning, to the start of new enemies and to just fun filler in between issues. Each story has its place and adds just to the overall lore of Archer & Armstrong. The art varies because of the different artist and is a little distracting but the stories stand alone.
This was the anniversary hullabaloo promise and was quite enjoyable. Read it and pick up on some of the subtle hints and additions to the story. If anything get a good laugh like I did after the first few pages.
I have occasionally read Archer & Armstrong #25, and although it has never really stuck with me, you just can’t miss a big issue with the original writers from Valiant. The book just has such a good vibe too. You can tell they don’t take themselves too seriously and neither should we. The action is just great in this issue jumping around different places and yet still delivering on the classic jokes.
I do think the backstory of the whole comic is a tad confusing though. I wouldn’t suggest this book to someone who has no idea about Archer & Armstrong, as they will be lost. Even I was a tad lost, not fully grasping everything about this duo. I really wanted to get everything, so do some backtracking before the purchase.
What I really do enjoy about this series, as well as the rest of the readers, is just the banter that goes on between the two. For some reason, it doesn’t get old. When Armstrong is trying to get Archer to take his first drink, I was cracking up. It is exactly how those “type-of-friends” talk and I have probably heard that exact conversation in a bar before.
So if you get all that Archer & Armstrong can be, then go out and treat yourself to this delight.
Back to the Beginning was one of those issues were its filler from the main story. However it isn’t a bad filler issue. The issue has a bit for everyone. For newer readers of the series, or people just picking up this book for the first time to get caught up it’s a good introductory book as to who these two characters are all about. For older established fans it gives a bit of story tying to the main story with the American Wasteland arc. The book is divided into several short stories with several writers and artists involved in each one and they all do a great job on their part and each story of the book gives a different perspective to Archer & Armstrong.
Out of all the stories in the issue. My favorite by far was Fred Van Lente’s Back to the Beginning. Were he touches on Archer’s origin, the fate of the sect, and the resolution to Archer meeting his parents. The ending to this story I thought was very appropriate. I won’t give it away but it was by far my favorite. This first story was great as well because it gives something to the hardcore fans that sort of continues the main story arc, but at the same time it feels new for a new reader as well. The book like all Archer & Armstrong issues is solid. I can’t say enough good things about this book. It’s just one of those book that whatever they do always is fun and funny.
The thing that’s good about this issue is the same thing that’s been good about the series from the very first issue; it has a mixture of humor, heart and adventure. When you nail those three things then you’re comic book will attract a dedicated fan base because they’ll never know what you’ll deliver.
In this issue we get a lot of humor, a lot of heart and maybe not a ton of adventure, but enough to satiate any need. I tend to think that the sadder stories were the better ones, but damn they were pretty emotionally jacked up.
What’s next for Archer & Armstrong? Plenty, but I hope that we’ll see another ongoing series with big plans staring this duo.
Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/29/14 Format: Print/Digital