REVIEW: ‘Archer and Armstrong Forever,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Archer and Armstrong Forever #1

Archer and Armstrong Forever #1 is written by Steve Foxe, illustrated by Marcio Fiorito, colored by Alex Guimaraes, and lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. It’s published by Valiant Entertainment. Obadiah Archer and Aram “Armstrong” Anni-Padda couldn’t be more different: the former was trained in every martial art imaginable to destroy “the devil,” and the latter is an immortal who prefers to drink and fight his way through life — and was the same “devil” that Armstrong was trained to destroy. They’ve become good friends, traveling the globe and having many adventures, but that’s about to end as Armstrong’s healing factor appears to have shorted out on him. Intent on protecting his friend, Archer embarks on a journey to restore Armstrong’s immortality, unaware that other forces are seeking his friend as well.

Valiant continues to relaunch and revamp its stable of characters as part of its “Year of Valiant” initiative, and Archer and Armstrong Forever is a great example of how successful said initiative is. While most of Valiant’s titles have been based in the realms of science fiction (The Harbinger, Armorclads) or espionage (Ninjak) this title is more of a screwball buddy comedy with a supernatural bent. This not only helps it stand out from the rest of the titles but also helps Valiant separate itself from other publishers: you’re getting a different kind of genre with each title!

What also helps sell the book is Foxe’s clever scripting, which makes for some truly laugh-out-loud moments. The very first page should give readers a clue into what kind of book they’re getting: Archer is on the phone with his girlfriend Faith when Armstrong chases after a group of people who stole his bag — and his pants are all the way down. Given that he’s virtually immortal (at least for the moment), Armstrong also takes injuries like a missing ear like you or I might treat a stubbed toe; painful but not a total annoyance. There are also some heartfelt moments, including Armstrong comforting Archer when Archer freaks out at the fact that he’s not immortal anymore.

Foxe is joined by a top-notch art team, which delivers some extremely dynamic (and clever) artwork. Fiorito’s art gives off a sense of forwarding motion, whether it’s Archer using his gymnastics/martial arts skills or Armstrong using his bulk to take down enemies. Guimaraes’ colors have a realistic vibe to them; the most prominent tones are the earthy browns that make up Armstrong’s trademark long coat and cap and Archer’s blue shirt and matching jeans. But the real standout of the issue is Otsmane-Elhaou, thanks to their creative lettering. Case in point: a series of captions introducing Archer and Armstrong feature arrows that point to each respective character and a rundown of their history. And when Armstrong uses a trash can as a makeshift bowling ball, there’s a literal “Strike” effect that’s genuinely hilarious.

Archer and Armstrong Forever #1 is a witty, action-packed ride that doubles as the perfect entry point into the Valiant Universe. Valiant has been turning out a string of hits this year, and I hope the publisher keeps it up as its roster of characters is just as interesting as the big guns of Marvel, DC, and Image.

Archer and Armstrong Forever #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Archer and Armstrong Forever #1
4.5

TL;DR

Archer and Armstrong Forever #1 is a witty, action-packed ride that doubles as the perfect entry point into the Valiant Universe. Valiant has been turning out a string of hits this year, and I hope the publisher keeps it up as its roster of characters is just as interesting as the big guns of Marvel, DC, and Image.