Archer & Armstrong #2: Mikey Angelo

A Bible-thumper and an immortal drunkard team up and work together to stick it to The One Percent.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Archer and Armstrong #2

In Fred Van Lente's Archer & Armstrong world, The One Percent is not just the richest people in America – they're also a cult that worships profit and conspires to control the world. Obadiah Archer, religious zealot, has just discovered his Bible-thumping parents are conspiring with them as part of The Sect, a holy conspiracy of dubious intent, and thus teams up with Armstrong, the burly, bloated immortal drunk they had sent him to kill.

It's a premise that could be a lot darker than it is, but Van Lente plays it up with a lot of whimsy. with Archer needling Armstrong about his morals and the latter cracking on the former for his faith, all of which aren't portrayed as moralistic crusading but rather buddy-comedy bickering.

Then there's Armstrong's general preference for hooch leading him to realize that the map he made to remind himself of the secret hiding places of all the components of the dangerous ancient immortality machine called the Boon (see last issue) was clouded in its clarity by the fact that he was hammered when he made it. So while he's on a Da Vinci Code-esque quest to recover the artifacts, he remembers vaguely where they are due to his ten thousand years of life ("Mikey keeps the torque in chains" he knows has something to do with his buddy "Mikey" – aka Michelangelo), he needs Archer's knowledge of arcane holy scripture and texts to solve the puzzles needed to reveal the pieces.

Now it doesn't seem to entirely make sense as to why they are starting to go around collecting the pieces of the Boon. They need Armstrong's map to do it, he's the only one who can decipher it, so if they want to keep the Boon out of The Sect's hands, why not just leave all the pieces hidden? Problem solved. So there's a bit of a storytelling hiccup there.

The art from Clayton Henry is bright and fun as well, as he seems to have a lot of fun with Armstrong's portly nature, especially putting him on a tiny scooter once they ride around Italy to Archer's terrified chagrin. The cabal of undead ninja nuns they run into at the end looks pretty badass, too, and the fact they are undead ninja nuns means that whimsy is still the name of the day here.

Archer & Armstrong #2 is fun stuff. Nothing super-hilarious, but I am duly entertained. I must clarify that I haven't read the original Valiant Comics, and a reader did point out last time out that this seemed like a rehash of stuff better told in the previous incarnation. I can't speak to that, but I'd be interested in hearing what other old Valiant readers might have to say about it. As a newbie, though, it's a good time.