By Jonathan Edwards
A couple of years back, the digital comic book distributor Comixology had a special promotion, where a bundle of about 26 first issues was completely free for the day. I was lucky enough to notice the email from them before it was too late and got the books. Included was Archer & Armstrong #1 from the 2012 ongoing series. I'd never her of the original series, so that was my first experience with the eponymous characters. As far as I recall, it was a pretty enjoyable read, and I intended to pick up a trade at some point. And then, I never actually went and did that. So when I found out that Valiant was doing A&A: The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong, I opted to pick up the first issue as soon as it came out. About a year later, here's the last issue.
To be honest, it feels somewhat abrupt. Back in issue #9, nothing suggested that this was going to be the last arc. In fact, Valiant's summary referred to it as an "all-new jumping-on point" but make no mention of it also being the beginning of the end. I mean, maybe it's just me, but that just seems like weird marketing. All that being said, this is actually a pretty solid conclusion. The subplots for both the Sisters of Perpetual Darkness and Davey the Mackerel were wrapped up last time, so we get to just focus on Archer, Armstrong, Andromeda, and Gub Gub fighting for their lives. It takes up pretty much the first two-thirds of the book, but damn if it isn't a fun read. I feel like after issue #5, the series wasn't going quite as crazy with its action, but this is balls to the wall.
There's not much else after that. We bid farewell to Andromeda and Gub Gub (at least for now) with a little twist that I was pretty satisfied with, and then we get a few short epilogue vignettes of Archer and Armstrong returning to their "normal" lives. Finally, as I would've expected, we end off with the promise of the duo getting into more shenanigans in the near future.
As with every issue, the art is strong, utilizing a slightly cartoonish style and a lot of bright, popping colors. The fight scenes a great. There's a strong sense of weight and movement in all of the action, and even with a lot going on, none of the panels feel cluttered or unclear.
I feel like this review is a bit more sparse than usual, but this is a pretty cut and dry conclusion. Not that that's a bad thing. When I was in the middle issues of A&A, I wasn't liking it quite as much, and I considered dropping the book. However, issue #12 makes me glad that I didn't. At the very least, it told a solid story with some nuance and subplots that do all come together in the end. And, that's something that's not as common as it should be.
A&A: Archer and Armstrong #12
Writer: Rafer Roberts
Artist: Mike Norton
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment