While some of the original Valiant’s first hits were updated versions Gold Key characters such as Magnus, Turok, and Solar, others such as Harbinger were original creations. Out of their core eight titles, Archer & Armstrong was the seventh released and it was one of the most original. It was conceived as a buddy action-comedy that would confront some of the more common clichés of the genre.
The first three issues (Archer & Armstrong #0-2) tied into the Unity event and were written by Jim Shooter.
After his tenure, artist Barry Windsor-Smith took over the scripting duties as well. The result, at least for the stories collected in this volume, is a really enjoyable romp with two distinctly different characters who are getting to know each other amid non-stop calamity.
Perhaps because of Windsor-Smith’s art style or perhaps simply because they did a better job, this is the best of hardcover collections from the new Valiant in terms of production. The colors are vibrant and consistent, and of course the stories stand up just fine.
In addition to an interview with him, the collection includes a new short story featuring the origin of The Sect (the group that was seemingly destined to plague Archer and Armstrong during the series’ original run) written by Shooter and illustrated by Sal Velluto. A highly enjoyable read and a must for anyone who wonders what all the fuss was about back in the day.
Archer & Armstrong: First Impressions
This article appeared in slightly different form in Scoop. Both reviews were written by yours truly.