Today, we continue our look at the Unity events of the early 90s with my review of Archer & Armstrong #1. Be sure to check out the rest of our Kickin’ It Old School reviews for more Valiant goodness!
Archer & Armstrong #1
Published in August 1992
Written by Jim Shooter
Penciled by Barry Windsor-Smith
Inked by Bob Layton
Colored by Maurice Fontenot, Janet Jackson, Jorge Gonzalez, and Mark Csaszar
Lettered by George Roberts Jr
Edited by Bob Layton
Archer & Armstrong get pulled into the fight against Erica Pierce. As things begin to heat up, Armstrong pulls them aside to figure out what’s going on. He and Archer are captured by the enemy, including a follower of a religion based on Archer’s teachings from 4001. The two are separated, and Armstrong takes advantage of some falling Ptero dung to sneak away. While Archer remains in captivity, Armstrong finds a place to resume his debaucherous ways. He’s surprised to discover Erica’s son, Prince George, drowning his sorrows in drugs and abuse.
Armstrong sees the opportunity to take advantage of the situation. He ingratiates himself to George and they head back to where Archer is about to be executed. George asks the prelate to see his gone, then blows him away, freeing Archer. He then offers to give Archer the opportunity a shot at killing his mother, which Archer accepts.
This is another meaty issue, telling a lot of story and offering a lot of character development for Armstrong in particular. Throughout the story, there are cut scene panels that remind us of the events that are going on with the rest of the group. Since Unity is an event set to take place over two months, each title only has two issues to get its part of the story told. Since each title is made to be readable on its own, it does give a bit of a compacted feel. The cut scenes also are enticing, making me wonder what is going on that I’ll be reading in the other titles.
After this issue, Armstrong is the more interesting character of the duo. We saw what he was capable of in Eternal Warrior #1, but we also knew that he chooses to take the easy way out and pursue the enjoyable things that life has to offer, avoiding judgement and violence. He was willing to endure something terrible (getting smothered in Ptero droppings) in order to escape his captors, but he’s also willing to seek out vice and forget about Archer. He does take advantage of the situation with Pierce’s son in order to free Archer, but his dedication to anybody but himself is definitely questionable.
Originally from ValiantCentral.com