Indie Comic Review: Archer & Armstrong #6 (With Preview)

AA_006_CVR_LUPACCHINOEvery time a review copy of Archer & Armstrong arrives, I feel like Steve Martin in The Jerk. I start running around yelling, “The New Archer & Armstrong is here! The new Archer & Armstrong is here!” Yes, it is that exciting!

The all-new Geomancer must battle the “Wrath of the Eternal Warrior.” Throughout all of human history, the sacred lineage of the Geomancers has protected Earth from all who would seek to do it harm. But, now, a new Geomancer has been chosen – and she’s stuck keeping Archer & Armstrong out of harm’s way! But why has Kay McHenry been selected to wield this exceptional power? And just what is her connection to the Eternal Warrior’s blood vendetta? Only Gilad knows for sure…but he won’t be answering until he’s left Archer & Armstrong bloodied, broken and brutalized by his own fist and steel. Plus: more of the Eternal Warrior’s exploits.

Issue six has plenty of things going for it. It is full of action, moves the plot forward in a logical and reasonable manner, has some great dialogue, and introduces a new character to the Valiant Universe. With Van Lente and Emanuela Lupacchino executing this so flawlessly, it begs the question: Why isn’t everyone else able to do this?

Archer and Armstrong are on the run from Armstrong’s brother, Gilad. Gilad is tasked with protecting the Geomancer (a guardian of the Earth), and blames Armstrong for the death of the last Geomancer. Given that he is immortal and a trained killer, things look pretty bleak for Archer.

Fred Van Lente’s script is spot on, delivering pitch perfect lines for the characters. He clearly demonstrates that these two men are quickly forming a bond akin to family. Given the ironic situation that they are being chased by a member of Armstrong’s true family, there is plenty of witty dialogue thrown in to drive the point home. Archer & Armstrong is not just a buddy action strip, but also a treatise on the importance of chosen family and loyalty to those who truly love and care about you.

The art by Emanuela Lupacchino is top notch, delivering exciting fight scenes and clear emotion. I was a bit concerned with the departure of Clayton Henry, but this issue and the last has allayed my fears. Lupacchino is more than capable of delivering an outstanding issue.

The introduction of Kay McHenry as the new Geomancer works in the context of the greater Archer & Armstrong story. She is someone who spends her life espousing ideas she does not believe in, working for a corporation to whom she has no loyalty, and refusing to believe the evidence before her eyes. In a sense she is Archer all over again. Since Gilad (Armstrong’s brother) is to be charged with protecting her, Van Lente is setting up a counterpoint to Archer & Armstrong. Who knows how this new team will interact!

Archer & Armstrong is a shining example of how comics should work. Strong characterization, clear storytelling, and exciting art makes Archer & Armstrong a title worth being excited for.

Archer & Armstrong #6 is out today!

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