Valiant Comics return to the shelves this summer with the launch of four great action books, with more on schedule for the fall. Returning to the industry with a renewed vigor and beloved strong characters, the company wants to fill your summer with the fun kind of summer reading. The relaunch, retelling and rebooting the stories of the likes of Bloodshot, X-O Manowar along with Fred Van Lente’s take on Archer & Armstrong, closes out your “Summer of Valiant“.
Let’s talk comic book history to introduce you to mainstays of the Valiant Universe, Archer & Armstrong. The company was originally founded in 1989 by former Marvel Editor-In Chief Jim Shooter. By 1992, the first versions of the books mentioned previously were launched. #0 issues provided origin stories. Shooter paced the stories in real time and comic fans enjoyed an interconnected universe that was brand new.
Though not causing as big of a stir as The Image Revolution, The Valiant Universe was popular among fans and critics in the early ’90s.
Flash forward to present day and we have the company rejuvenating the product line and starting the books off with top talent and new #1 issues. Fred Van Lente (Cowboys and Aliens, Amazing Spider-Man and Comic Book History of Comics) reboots Archer & Armstrong.
The book was teased with a six page preview in Valiant Issues #1 of Bloodshot and Harbinger. 10,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, two warrior brothers are fighting after the death of their older brother. We’re introduced to an important monolith in the middle of the city. As Brother Ivar flips a switch to the protest of brother Aram (Armstrong), a mighty blue explosion extinguishes life on Earth.
Next we jump to present day Ohio and we first meet Archer.
Fans of Bill Maher’s movie Religulous will recognize the scene. We’re at a creationist amusement park replete with caveman dinosaur rides and a recreation of Noah’s Ark.
Inside the Ark we find a young Obadiah Archer trained by his faithful parents to fight in multiple styles of martial arts. His training—to defeat ‘He Who Is Not To Be Named’ on the ‘Festering Isle of Corruption and Criminality’ aka New York City. He is given a talisman to track ‘He Who’ and the country boy is sent via bus to the Big City.
Archer’s talisman crusade leads him to a bar in the Meat Packing District, where you are sure to find ne’ er-do-wells like DigBoston staff writers during CMJ.
Armstrong is holding it down as an immortal bouncer at a bar where some ladies are known to leave their bras behind, stapled to the wall. Archer and Armstrong get into one heck of a silly bar brawl and learn a bit about each other. As these things go, you need a pal in a fight like that! Both are captured and the first issue reveals more about how these two are connected.
Clayton Henry (X-Men Unlimited, Legion of Superheroes) provides amazing artwork with great acting, action and storytelling. I’m not that familiar with his Marvel work but am looking forward to watch his career grow after this marquee series.
The story is as serious as HBO’s Rome and as silly as Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifinakis in Due Date. Not exactly an outright funny book here, but a comedy drama with tons of action. I look forward to the next issue and more from the Valiant Universe as the Summer of Valiant turns into Fall. Issue #1 ships next Wednesday, August 8. Be sure to tell your LCS to order a copy!
League of Ordinary Gentlemen Podcast Episode #122: Gay for Grimlock
John, Clay and Dursin go retro for Strange Brew, Van Damme porn and Transformers: Regeneration 1. That’s right. We’re gay for Grimlock.