Four Letter Nerd

4LN Advanced Review – A&A: THE ADVENTURES OF ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG #1

Series: A&A: The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong
Writer: Rafer Roberts
Artist: David Lafuente
Publisher: Valiant Comics

Summary: GET SMASHED…OR BE SMASHED! Valiant’s (somewhat) dynamic duo are going “IN THE BAG” for AN ALL-NEW ONGOING SERIES from rising star Rafer Roberts and comic book superstar David Lafuente!

Meet Armstrong: Since the ancient city of Ur, this immortal adventurer has spent the last 7,000 years drinking and carousing his way through history alongside some of the greatest merrymakers the world has ever known.

Meet Archer: A sheltered teenage martial arts master and expert marksman that was raised for a single purpose – to kill the devil incarnate. Little did he know that this undying evil was actually Armstrong (he’s actually a pretty good guy…once you get to know him) and, since hitting the road together, the two have become great friends and even better partners.

Now: Archer is about to set off on his most dangerous mission yet – a quest into the mystic reaches of Armstrong’s bottomless satchel to liberate his friend and comrade from the clutches of the mad god Bacchus! (Okay, so, Armstrong went into the satchel himself to get a bottle of whiskey that he kinda misplaced and got stuck. It’s like the Amazon warehouse of arcane treasures in there…and he doesn’t exactly have a maid service.)

Imprisoned in Armstrong’s satchel for centuries, Bacchus now commands a legion of monsters, goblins and golems bent on escaping back into the world of man and enacting revenge on their captor… Can Archer single-handedly combat the godly embodiment of intoxication himself – and rescue his best buddy – without becoming lost amongst Armstrong’s endless repository of bizarre artifacts and historical oddities in the process?

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Last week we were honored to be able to interview Rafer Roberts, writer of the upcoming A&A: THE ADVENTURES OF ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG.  Today we’d like to bring you and advanced, spoiler-free review of the first issue.

Like its predecessor, A&A is joyfully absurd.  There’s just no way to know what to expect when you pair the socially repressed Archer with the 6,000 year old hedonist that is Armstrong.  Maybe it’s because I spent many a year in a fundamental southern Baptist private school, but I relate to Archer in some way (you know, minus the ability to master any martial art just by observing it).  Anyway, Rafer Roberts’ debut issued carried the torch and carried it well.  Archer & Armstrong has always dealt with the fantastical.  In the previous run the pair faced off against ninja nuns, dead musicians, dinosaurs, and the filthy rich.  In this issue we meet alien-looking monsters that are fascinated by what I assume is the Valiant Universe’s answer for Maury, Davey the Mackerel (a walking/talking mackerel in a suit fit for Dustin Hoffman in “Death of a Salesman”), and Bacchus – the Greek god of wine – who has been stuck in Armstrong’s bottomless satchel and plotting his revenge for over three millennia.  Oh, and Mary Maria is back, which means so are the ninja nuns, also known as the Sisters of Perpetual Darkness (which is a badass name).

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He might look ridiculous, but it works.

It would be really easy for a book with that sort of absurdity to go off the deep end and diminish the reading experience, but Rafer Roberts nails it.  The whole time I was reading this issue I had a smile on my face.  This arc finds the titular heroes inside Armstrong’s magical satchel.  Armstrong misplaced something dear to him, and Archer realizes he is in trouble and enters the bag to save him.  As it turns out, Armstrong has collected a LOT of stuff over the years, and Archer must work through the infinite maze to find his friend.

One thing that immediately stood out to me is how well the art works with the story.  David Lafuente’s art with Brian Reber’s colors is just a pleasure to look at.  The way it pops reminded me of the cartoons of my youth, but in much better definition.  The characters and locations are fun to look at, and it’s even more fun trying to see what kind of stuff is lying around Armstrong’s mammoth space.

Valiant has done it once again.  Everything they’ve been doing lately just works, and this is no different.  Rafer Roberts and David Lafuente met my high expectations and more with A&A, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.  A&A #1 will hit the shelves this Wednesday, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve read everything Valiant has put out, or none of it, this book is just phenomenal.  Head on down to your local shop and snag an issue before they are all gone.

 

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Cam Clark

Cam is a husband, father, and a fan of many things. In college, he wrote his senior thesis on Mythological, Philosophical, and Theological Themes in Star Wars, and now spends his days causally specializing in Star Wars, Tolkien, and cubical work. No relation to Bill Clark.

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