The one-two punch that Valiant delivers once a month in the form of brand new issues of Archer & Armstrong andBloodshot is something I’ve really come to anticipate. These are two of the best comic series currently running and this month’s books waste no time kicking 2013 into high gear.
Archer & Armstrong #6 has everything – killer art from Emanuela Lupacchino, some great action, the introduction of an excellent new character, the return of the coolest villains ever, and all the brilliantly hilarious dialogue you’ve come to expect from writer Fred Van Lente. Everything in this book just consistently works so well, there is little wonder why it was one of my top picks of 2012.
Issue Six actually takes the focus off the titular duo for a bit while we meet Kay McHenry, a woman who instantly fits in wonderfully to the Valiant universe. Hopelessly indifferent to the needs of others and lost in the soul-crushing ideals of corporate America, she champions causes that she doesn’t believe in, or simply doesn’t understand, on behalf of her employer. One night, however, a chance encounter with the One Percent (yes! they’re back!) changes everything and leaves Kay in a deadly situation.
As Archer & Armstrong unknowingly race to track her down, Gilad, the Eternal Warrior, is hot on their heels to deliver some swift retribution. All parties arrive on the scene just as Kay dramatically reappears – as Earth’s newest Geomancer. The issue wraps up with a perfect cliffhanger, just as the action has reached its peak, and it will be very interesting to see how things play out next month.
Bloodshot #7 shakes things up a bit after last month’s cliffhanger ending. Instead of continuing on where the current story left off (with Bloodshot making his shocking discovery at the nursery), writer Duane Swierczynski decided to take us into the character’s past to show just why that reveal was so important. What we get is a great stand-alone issue that delves into a period in Bloodshot’s life that readers only got a taste of. Still very much under the influence of the false memories he was implanted with, he is sent on a mission to collect a group of “child hostages.” We quickly find out that these children are psiots who are more than able to fend for themselves and are given the impression that they are very familiar with Bloodshot – the “boogeyman” who takes them away forever.
Ultimately, it’s a sad tale for all parties involved, who are all manipulated and hurt by Project Rising Spirit. Bloodshot is endlessly duped by his makers to carry out their atrocities, the Harbinger children are being kidnapped and imprisoned, and Dr. Kuretich witnesses the horror he was responsible for, which explains why he shows up as a PRS defector in the first issue. Due to the brief look into Bloodshot’s history, including a rundown of his extraordinary powers, and the involvement of the mysterious psionic kids, this book works as not only a jumping-on point of sorts for new readers, but also a great segue into the upcoming Harbinger Wars crossover event.
This is also the first issue to switch up artists and is handled quite nicely by Matthew Clark, whose work perfectly compliments the gritty narrative with violence that’s stylish and brutal as ever. It’s a thoroughly fantastic read and, if you haven’t checked out the series yet, there’s no better time to get acquainted with one of the most entertaining stories out there. Check out previews of both issues below and then get down to your local comic shop and grab yourself a copy.
ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #6 – Lupacchino Cover
ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #6 – Zircher Variant
ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #6 – Preview Page #1
ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #6 – Preview Page #2
ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #6 – Preview Page #3
ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #6 – Preview Page #4
ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #6 – Preview Page #5
ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #6 – Preview Page #6
BLOODSHOT #7 – Standard Cover
BLOODSHOT #7 – Variant Cover
BLOODSHOT #7 – Preview Page #1
BLOODSHOT #7 – Preview Page #2
BLOODSHOT #7 – Preview Page #3
BLOODSHOT #7 – Preview Page #4
BLOODSHOT #7 – Preview Page #5
BLOODSHOT #7 – Preview Page #6
BLOODSHOT #7 – Preview Page #7