This issue is crazy. I have no clue who the two dudes at the top of the cover are and that’s only the beginning of my questions. The humor in this issue was the best it’s been in a while and really gave it that patent Archer & Armstrong feel. In general, this issue was a good return to form for the series and it was much-needed after the previous story arc. In the last issue we saw our main characters along with Mary-Maria and a scientist transported to the faraway which we saw for the first time in the zero issue for the series. Armstrong starts off by punching a T-Rex to free the scientist from its jaws. He asks the man some quick questions about the ins and outs of them being there before the man dies… and the dinosaur stampede. The trio begin to run away, but it becomes clear that they need to take out the space ship that’s shooting at them in order to stop the dinosaurs from running. Yes I did say space ship.
Archer stays behind and Armstrong takes Mary-Maria and jumps off a cliff. Armstrong takes the blunt of the drop because if you recall everything is not as it appears in the faraway. The water that was below them acts as concrete and shatters Armstrong’s hip. It’s revealed to him that Mary-Maria has some of the same regenerative powers from her exposure to the Boon as her arm heals in the same fashion. Archer on the other hand is abducted by the space ship once they get a look at his shirt. Don’t worry that’s explained, but it leads to more questions.
It’s a pretty good issue and I really enjoyed Mary-Maria not being controlled as much by her parents or at least them not talking as much. Also Obie’s skill captions have come back into play which was a nice return. When it first appeared in the series it was used excessively, but then it slowly began to die out which wasn’t necessary. In this issue Van Lente uses it sparingly and it works. The humor in this issue is great and very on the nose with its political jokes and it could potentially be funny to members of both political parties with was very humorous to me.
The art continues to be a really strong aspect of the series and Perez does a great job with the setting. Aside from the living metal jungle land, he also illustrates a ufo and aliens. It’s quite the range. There are also a ton of new characters introduced and he does a good job of giving them each a distinct look. He’s really a great fit for the series so hopefully he’ll be on after this arc.
If you’ve been following the series then this is yet another strong issue. If you’re new to it then you may want to grab the last two issues (one of those being the zero issue) either in the back issue bin or digitally. It’s a fun series and as I said before this is a great return to form. This is the type of issue I expect from Archer & Armstrong, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the only issue I want to read. Where’s the fun in reading that over and over again, but this is another Valiant series knocking it out of the park.
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Pere Perez
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Release Date: 7/17/13