Friday, August 8, 2014

Archer and Armstrong #5 and #6 (Classic Valiant)

Valiant Comics series Archer and Armstrong continues its downfall into mediocrity with this two-part story, though thankfully the series hasn't gotten unbearable yet, and there is still one great issue left in the run...Given that there's 20 issues to go, that's less praise than it sounds.

Immortal Drunk Armstrong and his young Buddhist crimefighter of a partner Archer have gone to Cote D'Azur, France to visit the former's wife Andromeda (Andy for short). The two lovers, having not seen each-other in a long while, make the most of their time together, but the peace of their island paradise is broken when some poachers led by a member of the Sect intent in killing Armstrong attacks...

The plot is the poorest thing on display this issue. It's forced, and dull, while it unknowingly makes Armstrong seem like a dick for only visiting his wife every few months or years! (At the end of the issue, he's leaving again, but why? You're married, dude-Settle the fuck down!).

The title characters have very little to them, which is bad enough, but any shred of the interesting comedic, yet darkly themed premise held by #0 is long gone, only coming back in the fantastic #12.

Andy is literally a goddess, which makes absolutely no sense for the Valiant shared universe, as they were desperate to keep things 'realistic, (in a comic universe about superheroes?! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!), so there's no such thing as magic, or gods in these comics. How can there be an Earth spirit then that the Geomancers (Earth seers) communicate with? No idea if that's ever explained. Probably not.

Most annoying of all with Andromeda is that aside from one reference in a later issue, she is literally never seen or mentioned again! And Armstrong has dalliances as the series goes on, meaning that either immortals are fine with the idea of an open relationship, or the series writers after Barry Windsor-Smith forgot Andy existed, and accidentally wrote Armstrong as a cheating/philandering dickhead. I'd say it's the latter.

The villains this story are boring! They're just...there, having no substance or character at all. Oh, and one looks like Hitler, for literally no reason.

I found Archer's narration to be overwritten and boring. And there's other sucky dialogue too, like when Archer asks "How could you leave this place, sir?" and Armstrong responds with "It's always good to come back, y'now." No, I don't know, because that is not an answer to the question, dude!
Bu thankfully there is some funny dialogue too, such as when a hotel concierge asks Armstrong "Baggage, sir?", and he replies "Yeah, but I think he means well." referring to Archer. And of course, there's Archer's first meeting with Andromeda.

The artwork here is good, but the inking for the dialogue is mediocre, with way too many words boldened for no reason. Archer's narration is especially poorly inked, way too small, and the boxes don't even keep a consistent colour. Another technical issue is the repeated spelling of 'missus' as 'misses'. And there's one particularly crappy scene transition early in #5.

The cover to #5 looks great, in my opinion. As for #6's, it's decent-Nothing special.

This is a mediocre two-parter of Archer and Armstrong, but it still has its moments. If only I could say that for future issues...

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