You know those debates that go: “My guy can beat up your guy in his sleep!” Well that’s exactly how this issue starts off, as Van Lente gives us another jaw dropping display of Archer’s abilities. Though once he wakes up, the beating he puts on the H.A.R.D. Corps team only gets worse. This doesn’t sit well with those in charge of his capture, but his victory is short lived. On the other end, his rescue is being planned by his friends and allies, as well as the man who brought him into custody in the first place, Bloodshot.
When this crossover began I was hesitant to continue, but Van Lente has kept everything running on all cylinders here. Regardless of how events play out he finds a way to make Archer a multi-layered character who keeps evolving in a great way. One minute he’s having a sincere conversation with his “enemy” before performing surgery to save his life, then Van Lente gives you this very cold and driven young man who will not deviate from his quest for Kozol in the same moment. All of this is balanced out by some humorous moments backed with the intensity of Bloodshot attempting to atone for his earlier mistakes with the children he rescued.
To move this story along is the artwork of Pere Perez, and it’s wonderful from panel to panel. There’s a very kinetic feel to the action scenes along with his very imposing interpretation of Bloodshot. David Baron’s colors assist in making this one of the better looking books to hit shelves this week. The shift in the color palette while Archer is performing surgery is perfect, and shows the attention to detail in the visual storytelling here.
Momentum is something this title has had since the first issue, and it has yet to run out! Even if you’re newer to the series there is a very thorough recap page that gets you up to speed, making almost every issue a comfortable introduction to the series. So do yourself a favor and see what all of the praise is about for Archer & Armstrong!