The “Eternal Warrior” storyline wraps in this issue and it’s very reminiscent of the first story arcs conclusion. There’s a resolution, but the journey shows no signs of slowing down. I said it in my review for this week’s Harbinger, but I think it’s true of all the new Valiant titles; every story, no matter how big it is, gives the impression that it’s just scratching the surface. A lot of new comics come out strong with a huge storyline, but then have nothing to follow it up with. With this series, it continues to find a way to get bigger and bigger which definitely holds a readers interest.
In the last issue, Opie’s brain got taken over by the Null’s agent “The Last Enemy.” He’s messed up everyone pretty good and sent Gilad flying to his possible demise, which sends Armstrong running after his brother. Meanwhile Kay manages to hide from the over confident Last Enemy and is contacted by her predecessors via the Geomancer book. They speak cryptically to her at first, but finally Kay gets a clue and comes back as a major badass. Armstrong manages to find Gilad who is still intact since the earth won’t let him die yet. He tells him about the Last Enemy and that his friend will need to be killed. Armstrong tells him that he believes in the kid and won’t let it come to that.
I know that I wasn’t alone is saying that this story arc focused on Gilad and the Geomancer far more than Archer and Armstrong, but this issue does a decent job of slowly shifting that focus back to the main characters. There’s also a tremendous amount of character development on both sides of the table as A&A’s friendship builds and both characters learn about themselves; while Kay becomes confident and begins to understand her powers and Gilad accepts both his brother for who he’s become and Archer for more than just a cult kid. All of this happens while explosions are going off if you can believe that! Seriously though, the writing was very good and while Van Lente’s comedic stylings are intact for this issue, it manages not to be too overbearing.
I’m going to miss Kay. Her design was very similar to Terry Dodson’s style and her looks was something out of the defunct Cross Gen line of books. Hopefully an Eternal Warrior series starring the two of them is approaching because I would love to see more of their interaction. Otherwise the art was as good and consistent as it has been throughout the story arc. Evil Archer had a distinct look to him and honestly the art played a huge role in making this conclusion believable.
If this is your first issue of Archer & Armstrong then the payoff isn’t as big for you as someone else that’s read the entire series or arc, but that doesn’t change the fact that it does a fine job of recapping everything for a new reader. The next issue is going to be another great opportunity to jump on the series, so if you’ve been curious you have time to catch up or just jump on. This is a fun series and I bet that it and Quantum and Woody will butt heads for Valiant’s funniest title.
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Emanuela Lupacchino with Alvero Martinez
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Release Date: 4/10/13