Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Archer and Armstrong #23 and #24 (Classic Valiant)
Young Buddhist Archer finds himself caught up in a gang war when he rescues Ethan, the son of local gangster Nate Rosen...
This is a decent Archer and Armstrong two-parter, but its trouble is that the story really has little to do with the lead characters, and neither contribute to taking down the villain. They knock out some of her goons, but the situation itself is resolved entirely by the antagonistic Pan.
Archer is the lead in this story, with Armstrong getting barely anything to do. He only has one scene in Issue #23! Archer is an ok protagonist here, but naive. I also have no idea why he's suddenly growing his hair out, even though he's been a bald monk for this whole series. There's no explanation given. It could be because his order was destroyed in another Valiant series, which was the instigator for the plot of the previous two issues, but one would think that would strengthen Archer's want to look monkly, rather than distance himself from it.
The two anti-villains Nate and Madeline and their dynamic is actually mildly interesting, but come the end, totally underused and underdeveloped. It's an extra shame seeing as how they have more to do with the plot than Archer.
Ethan is more of a plot device than a character, and doesn't get nearly enough scenes to flesh out his character.
The art in these issues is pretty terrible! We've got poor crosshatch shading, and Picasso-like faces, given how poorly drawn, angled, and structured they are. I like the wide shot of the sky in the story's final panel though. It hardly looks convincing, given its colouring, but I still like it.
The cover to Issue #23 is ok, but the lack of background hurts it. #24's cover is not only decent, but actually has a background, rather than crappy gradient speckles! The only problem is Armstrong's face, which looks pretty gremlin-y.
This Archer and Armstrong two-parter is mildly tolerable, but compared to the terrible previous story, it's a nice improvement!...