Review - Archer & Armstrong #3

What's a surly, hulking fighter with a penchant for booze and ladies doing with a clean-cut and pure assassin doing teamed up? In Archer & Armstrong #3 from Valiant Comics, they're wrecking shop and loving it.

The issue is written by Fred Van Lente, with art by Clayton Henry and Pere Perez and colors by Matt Milla.

The quest is on to find the six pieces of the Boon and Archer and Armstrong find themselves smackdab in the middle of it. The two have ventured into the Vatican Catacombs in search of the Torque to go along with the Inclined Plane and Fulcrum they already have. After fighting some nunjas they encounter someone unexpected who has a different plan in mind for them altogether.

Van Lente does one thing (among many) exceptionally well in Archer & Armstrong #3 and that is keeping it light. The title characters are fighting for both their lives and the lives of the world, but the situation doesn't feel like it at all. In fact, you would think they were just sparring for the sake of sparring.

The somewhat jovial approach really works, making the story feel natural with the main characters involved. The plot of the series so far is very dire, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance, but Armstrong is content to just drink really fine wine instead. Archer is the more serious of the two, but even he's faced with making judgment calls in the face of choosing a side.

The art by Henry and Perez is quite stellar. Archer is depicted as lean and agile, while Armstrong has the bruiser approach to fighting. A good portion of the book is dedicated to fighting and the two artists handle it well. Many of the panels are really tight shots on the characters, leaving little room for the Vatican setting to really shine through.

The third issue in the series continues to be an enjoyable experience. Things are looking a little more dire for the heroes at the end of the issue and Archer's parents reveal a force behind the Boon that's unexpected, but not really surprising either. The paths are working to collide in the next few issues, so expect fireworks.

Archer & Armstrong #3 is in stores today with interiors below.