Rating: 4.5/5 – A great example of what a zero issue should be.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.
Writer Fred Van Lente and artist Pere Perez team up to tell a tale of young Obadiah Archer (not quite the baby we see on the cover, the tale starts with him elementary school age) and follows along to show how he ends up with his adoptive parents and, as a result, associated with the Sect.
Van Lente packs a tremendous amount of story into this single issue. This is the kind of story I’ve seen other publishers spend 6 issues on and I’m not convinced that telling this in a really drawn out fashion would be better. Van Lente has a great sense of economy as he packs information, characters, and motivations into these 25 pages and leaves us with a great sense of what makes Archer the man he is. Seeing snippets of the indoctrination process both at Project Rising Spirit and in the Archer Ministries “Promised Land” compound was a fascinating demonstration of similarities & differences. As Van Lente ties Archer more closely into the world of Project Rising Spirit it perfectly sets up the “Mission: Improbably” storyline that begins in Archer & Armstrong #18 and will continue on crossing over between that title and Bloodshot & H.A.R.D. Corps. That allows this issue to serve the dual purpose of expanding the ongoing story in the regular monthly book while also filling in backstory. And yes, for people who are fans of Mary-Maria like me, you will get some nice moments with her in this issue as well.
Pere Perez does an outstanding job on the art, his fine lines, body language and evocative facial expressions pairing with Van Lente’s words to make the story flow fluidly from panel to panel, carrying the reader through the story. Definitely one of my favorite artists in the Valiant stable.
Archer & Armstrong #0 is a great example of what a zero issue should be: self-contained but tying into the main series, the information here expands on and enriches the core mythos of the Valiant Universe. The shared universe is a key aspect of the Valiant books and this book exemplifies the strength of the shared universe concept as bits of story from many places that can stand perfectly well on their own add together to make a sum that is greater than those pieces taken individually.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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