Archer & Armstrong is one of those books that when it comes out every month I am all in and pick it up right away to read. Aside from the great story telling that this run has established, one of the areas that I really like is the character development that is done in this series. The level of detail and deepness that the writers put into the character makes you relate with the character. The Archer issue where they explain his backstory and how he became the perfect weapon was one of my favorite issues. Now in issues 24 we are given an origin story and so far it’s the best origin story I have read yet. As I already mentioned, issue 24 is an origin story… of Mary-Maria. The story starts off with the Sect of the Sisters of Perpetual Darkness assigning Mary-Maria a job in Brazil to take care of a local gangster named O Polvo. Maria has a lot of pent up anger against O Polvo. It is because of him that Maria lost her family and the reason why she became an orphan. The comic takes you back to Brazil, where we see Mary-Maria with her father, and pregnant mother. They live a poor but happy life since they are together. Complications in birth take away Maria’s mother. However, Maria’s mom gives birth to twins, and Maria’s father is now taken care of by three girls.
Things come back to normal but Maria’s Father begins to be hassled by the local gangster about payment that needs to be done. Maria’s father gets the message so he pawns off stuff to pay off the gangster. He even sells an important necklace that belonged to her mother. Things get so bad that out of desperation her father sells her to an orphanage to be able to pay off the debt. Eventually she gets adopted by the Archers which leads to her epic training, but she never forgot that because of the gangster in power her life was taken away from her.
As always, Archer & Armstrong deliver an awesome story. The way they balance action, humor, and character development is so well balanced that it is hard not to like this book. The writers deep journey into Maria’s past is a journey I really liked, and appreciated. It opened the door to Maria’s past and it shows her journey even as tragic as it is to be the badass she is now. Even the reveal about her father and him still being alive and what he becomes was a great reveal. The art, in this issue is as great as all the other Archer & Armstrong books. Strong art, consistent art that is beautiful in each page. The art has become a staple to the series.
Overall, this book is a great read. The humor, the storytelling, and character development is very solid. While this issue still continues with the American Wasteland run. This issue feels like a great stand-alone issue, and this issue is my favorite issue of the entire run because it give Maria her story and shows why she is the badass she is. A great comic that delivers monthly.
Writer: Karl Bollers Artists: Clayton Henry Colorist: David Baron Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/10/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital