Now this is a zero issue! Finally we have an explanation for the events that began in issue one and it truly feels like predecessor to that issue, but again with all zero issues you only appreciate them if you’ve kept up with the rest of the series. Since I have, I found this issue to be very rewarding as Arm takes the role of narrator and tells Opie all about the story of Gilgamesh.
After the usual hilarity of Archer and Armstrong’s interaction in which it is revealed that Gilgamesh is actually about Arm and his two brothers, we head to the past where the story takes place. Arm introduces his two brothers’ and himself as they’re summoned by their king and shown a metal scorpion man thing that is being kept a secret in the castle. The king asks for them to adventure to the scorpion thingies home and explore basically. All three accept for different reasons and they’re off, not knowing that the King wants them gone because they rival his love with the people. Along the way they run into their fair share of side adventures and dangers, but finally reach the land. The jungle area is made entirely of metal, even the water as they quickly find out. After dealing with a dinosaur they head to a structure and inside is a familiar device… the boon!
Armstrong is always played as the sensitive character, but it’s never been shown clearer then it is here. The twist on Gilgamesh is perfect and really gives you the impression that this world is real. While we haven’t spent much time with Ivar the oldest brother, his personality and characteristics come across crystal clear. Van Lente does a fine job of switching up the style of the story to accommodate the narration. It doesn’t feel like he’s taking the easy way out, rather he adds a layer of difficulty to it as he must present everything in Arm’s voice.
The art is fantastic and really there’s no arguing that. It honestly looks better than what the “big two” are pumping and shows Valiant’s dedication to the entire craft not just to pumping out books. Henry has a huge range as an artist and draws everything from jungles to deserts and modern cities to cities of a bygone era. Each and every page is beautiful and supports the story and narrative to the fullest.
This was a great read and entertained the hell out of me. While Archer’s past is the big mystery at the moment, it’s just as interesting to find out more about Armstrong and his involvement in history. Knowing that he’s part of Epic of Gilgamesh, I can’t wait to see what other historical figures he ends up being. If you’re not reading this series, first of all what’s wrong with? Second of all, you should be and this is a great jumping on point. You can literally read this issue and pick up with issue ten or go back to the beginning. Either way it’s worth it as I’m sure any regular reader could tell you.
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Clayton Henry
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Release Date: 5/8/13