Review: Archer & Armstrong #5 by Fred Van Lente and Emanuela Lupacchino

Review:  Archer and Armstrong #5

“Fist and Steel”

Published by Valiant Entertainment

Written by Fred Van Lente

Art by Emanuela Lupacchino

Coloured by Matt Milla

The Plot

A and A are on the run in Calcutta and Armstrong is very worried about Archer’s wellbeing as he is genuinely fearful of his brother, Gilad, the Eternal Warrior.  Armstrong’s plan is to hold Gilad at bay in order to give Archer time to escape and find the next Geomancer.  Flashback to China 210 B.C. and Armstrong (then known as Aram) and Gilad are protecting the Geomancer from the forces of Emperor Qin.  It is obvious here that Gilad is pretty much addicted to battle, but their mission does not go as planned.  Back to the present and Armstrong engages his brother while Archer is still distraught over the events of the previous issue.  Gilad proceeds to wipe the floor with his brother all over Calcutta.  Armstrong attempts to flee, but no avail.  Gilad reminds him what he did to the Emperor after the death of the Geomancer.  Archer makes the save and they dispatch Gilad and begin travelling to find the new Geomancer.  Unfortunately, they are not alone in their pursuit.

The Breakdown

This was seriously a fun issue.  I’m glad that more of Armstrong’s past was explored in this issue.  Also, this issue did answer some questions from the very beginning of this series.  This was a very funny issue from Archer not wanting to tell Armstrong whether or not he was a virgin to Armstrong trying to escape by using a rickshaw.  This book had me laughing out loud quite a bit.  Also, now I can say that I read a comic with, “Screw this! I’m getting out of here now!” in Bengali.  The fight scene between Armstrong and his brother was also fun to look at as they are both immortal and can both take a large amount of damage.  Seeing Armstrong in such a panic at the beginning of the issue was effective at building up the Eternal Warrior because he’s usually pretty laid back.  It also shows how much closer A and A have gotten.  There was also a little detail that I liked and it was that Archer’s hair is starting to grow out a little bit.  I really enjoy it when there are little details included in a book because it shows a genuine effort on the creative team’s part to make a good, consistent, and comprehensive story.  The lack of a Geomancer has apparently hurt Gilad’s thought processes, but even so, it’s easy to see him being so committed to seeing his task through of killing Archer.  He has lived for so long and has fought many, many battles.  I enjoyed watching the unstoppable force known as the Eternal Warrior and he was a great foil for the pair.  Archer states outright that he doesn’t think he can beat Gilad yet he engages him anyways and does so in an intelligent manner.  This put Archer over even more as a formidable fighter.  Also, Archer was more ha ha funny and not just fish out of water funny.  This added a lot to the dynamic of Archer and Armstrong’s relationship.  The art was good and consistent.  It suited the tone of this book.  I cannot wait for the next issue.

BUT…

There wasn’t really anything that bothered me in this issue.  Maybe they could’ve busted through and tore up a different building other than a brothel (if that’s what it was) because it might be stereotypical? This is me nitpicking and over-thinking it though.  I honestly didn’t care when I read it.  Usually I’m not that huge on the previews at the end of the books because I’m going to read those books anyways, but even the one this month revealed at the very end that Cary Nord would be returning to do some work on X-O Manowar so I can’t even complain about that.  I try to look for the good and the bad in order to try and provide a somewhat balanced review, but I enjoyed everything about this issue.

Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?

Buy It.  Then get other people to Buy It as well.  This is a really good comic that I originally had no interest in the first time I heard about it.  This might very well be the biggest surprise for me this year as I had zero expectations of liking it.  I only picked it up because Valiant was rocking everything else that came out.  They have been taking their time releasing different titles and this approach has worked very well for them creatively.  The Big Two does publish a ton more titles, but there are so many throw away ones in there.  Everything that Valiant is releasing is flat-out good.  They deserve to be rewarded with great sales.  I highly recommend this title to pretty much anyone.

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