Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Archer and Armstrong #10 and #11 (Classic Valiant)

Young Buddhist Archer and his drunkard immortal friend Armstrong have arrived in London to visit the latter's brother, Ivar, a time-traveler. The three go out to dinner and are drugged by a group of time-displaced people, who think Ivar is deliberately responsible for their troubles. They put him on trial at Stonehenge, and Ivar's only hope may be superhero Solar, Man of the Atom...

The plot to these issues of Valiant series Archer and Armstrong is boring, drawn out, and doesn't lead to anything at all! It just stops! Archer's narration can get humorous at times, but aside from that, there's little to enjoy about this two-parter.

The reason all these people were displaced in time is really half-assed, comes out of nowhere, and it's such a confusing explanation that trying to work everything out will make your head hurt!

Another problem with the plot is that there's no reason why the main characters don't just fight their way out of their sticky situation. "You can't fight all of them. There's just too many." Ivar tells Armstrong. He's immortal! He can punch through metal, and take numerous gunshots, stab wounds, and explosions as if they were merely pillory fruit! So can you, Ivar! I'm sure you can take a small crowd of random people!

And finally, the way the story is resolved is a complete deus ex machina. Other Valiant character Solar comes out of nowhere and immediately solves the problem.-The End. This is exactly what happened with Secret Weapons Issue #4! Was Solar only good for resolving problems in other Valiant series'?!

The characters are meh. Archer and Armstrong feel like minor characters in their own comic (By the way, I've no idea why Archer has doubted Armstrong's immortality and the stories of his exploits until now, as he's personally accompanied the man in an interdimensional war to save all of reality! Immortality really isn't particularly unbelievable at that point!), while Ivar has very little character to him besides his love for Egyptian queen Nefretete (although he at least has more identity here than he did in A&A Issue #8).

Ivar's whole conceit is just confusing. He's always catching 'time-arcs', which take him to somewhere where he's gotta rush to find the next time-arc. It's not explained why he does this. It'd make sense if it was to get back to his love in ancient Egypt, but he clearly already has, so why didn't he stay? Ivar always seems to hunt down the time arcs as if he has to go through them, which makes him seem like Phileas Fogg from Around the World in 80 Days-Rushing through Europe without admiring anything just to get to his race's finish line. Although Fogg at least has a reason-If there's a reason for Ivar, like say, he disintegrates into acidic goo if he doesn't always hop through time, it's never brought up in his various appearances in various Valiant comics, nor do I suspect it is in his own series Timewalker.

One last thing to mention with Ivar is the incredibly dumb line he gets with his brother, who he's lamenting with that he never gets to see very often, because "It's so rare that we're in the same timestream, y'know" WHAT?! YOU'RE A TIME TRAVELER AND HE'S IMMORTAL! YOU'RE ALWAYS IN THE SAME TIMESTREAM!

Solar is nothing this story besides an easy fix to the problem. This certainly doesn't make me want to read his series!...Granted, I already have read his series, and it's terrible! Solar is the most unlikeable damn hero in comics I've ever come across!

The story's 'villains' are pretty dull, and a lot of their dialogue is hard to understand due to their phonetically written British accents. One illogical thing is their means of capturing The main characters. They must have access to the strongest damn knockout drugs in the universe, as all it takes is a single chip for Archer to knock him out, and one bite before the super resilient immortal brothers immediately fall asleep. READ A BOOK, AUTHOR!

Mahmud is back in this story from the nasty situation Armstrong left him in (seriously, how could we root for a hero who just abandons the villain to a horrific fate like that?), now covered in bandages from his injuries, and yelling for vengeance. I like the scene in Issue #11 where he's rampaging in the city, because of how over-the-top it is that he's just screaming at the top of his lungs that he's going to 'TEAR ARMSTRONG'S BLACK HEART OUT!' in the middle of the street as he's blasting away at everything,  but I don't really take much at all to his scene in #10, where he's rehearsing said lines, because that diminishes what it is I like about that scene in #11.

Say, remember how Armstrong's super magical satchel was stolen by that bratty little kid? Yeah, neither do I. Well that story arc has pointlessly meandered across damn near ten issues, with no point to it until now, where Mahmud steals Armstrong's satchel...making any prior scene with this kid's fooling around entirely pointless! They could have used that space to show how Mahmud ended up as a half-crazy mummy, rather than have him abruptly appear again out of nowhere ten issues later.

The art here is decent. The cover to #10 is ok. The background is beautifully drawn, while the action in the foreground makes for a good cover to pull you in. #11's cover, however, is BLINDING if you look at it for more than one second! Aside from that aspect, it's bland.

This is yet another Archer and Armstrong story that accomplishes absolutely nothing, but coming next is Issue #12, the next and last remaining great issue of this series!...

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