With the death of the Geomancer last issue comes an even bigger problem for our two heroes. The return of Gilad, the Eternal Warrior who is tasked with protecting and in some cases avenging whoever the Geomancer may be in that time period. He is also the brother of Armstrong, but don’t think in any way this grants him any sort of reprieve. To fulfill his duty he would go through his brother to kill Archer, and he shows this in grand fashion in this issue.
Once again Fred Van Lente brings us another fantastic issue of Archer & Armstrong, and this time he’s got artist Emanuela Lupaccino along for the ride. The reintroduction of the Eternal Warrior to readers is flawless and exciting. We get a great sense of the relationship between the brothers and Gilad himself through various flash backs in his attempts to kill Archer. Also there seems to be a shift in the partnership between Archer and Armstrong, as it seems less of a forced scenario between the two. Since the death of his parents and family members, Van Lente has Archer admit a few things that definitely help with the team dynamic here. There’s also still a nice amount of humor thrown into the story that mixes perfectly with the action and fast pace of the story.
Anyone who was a bit nervous about not seeing Clayton Henry’s name as artist of this issue needs to put those aside. Emanuela Lupaccino and Matt Milla deliver quality artwork from beginning to end. From the rich and detailed backgrounds to the characters themselves, this is some great visual storytelling. The action is quite intense, and the character design for Gilad looks great, as well. Two sequences really stand out, and that’s the battle at the Great Wall along with the rickshaw scene. Both are great showings of the action and then the humor that Lupaccino was able to effectively convey in the issue. The only thing that is a bit off putting is the fact that Archer strongly resembles a certain super soldier in his face, if not totally in his body structure.
What’s great about this issue is that if you haven’t started reading Archer & Armstrong (Why wouldn’t you be?), then this issue is still a pretty comfortable jumping on point for you. Between the recap and the actual story, you’ll just slide right into the action and see what the rest of the fans have been excited about since the first issue. Archer & Armstrong is one of the year’s new books to check out!