Sunday, August 12, 2012

Archer and Armstrong #1

The recent revival of the Valiant Comics line hasn't really caught my interest until now.

I really enjoyed the original Archer & Armstrong series - as created by Barry Windsor-Smith, it was an quirky mix of action, humor and interesting characters. It teamed up a religious pacifist (who also happens to be the world's greatest fighter, similar to the hero of the classic TV show Kung Fu) with a drunken powerhouse of a brawler (who also happens to be an immortal).

That odd couple made for some very funny and entertaining stories.

So now they're back in a new version of the same concept that (somewhat) follows the original story, except that it largely eliminates my favorite part - the humor.

This Archer's roots are as a conservative Christian, being part of a sect that doesn't believe in evolution, denounces the outside world and is raising an army of young warriors in an amusement park. It all feels like a cartoon, not a serious (or even humorous) look at that culture.

We get a glimpse of Armstrong's origin, but he has very little to do in this issue, unless you count vomiting on another guy in a bar.

And frankly, if that's what counts as humor these days, leave me out.

The art by Clayton Henry is ok though not exceptional. Technically solid and featuring well-rendered characters, the linework seems a bit thin - it would be nice to see a little more variety in there.

This just feels like a thin version of the original, with watered-down story and art, and virtually no humor. Lots of action, though.

But this issue didn't hook my attention at all, so I won't be back. Someone let me know if it gets better.

Grade: C+


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