Review: Archer And Armstrong #1: Arch-Conservatives Will Hate This Comic

By Todd Allen

When the teasers for Archer and Armstrong #1 came out, there was a little bit of noise from the political parts of the web about what an awful liberal smear job the book was because of some villains billing themselves as the 1%.  I’d gotten a good laugh out of villains calling themselves the 1% and wearing golden masks of bulls and bears (an obvious stock market joke) and I figured the usual noisy political types might be over-reacting.  Come to find out, Archer and Armstrong is a much more political book than I was expecting.  It’s also utterly hilarious.  Unless you’re a dogmatic Republican with limited-to-no sense of humor.  If you’re one of those, stay FAR away from this comic.  It will set you off.

This gem is written by Fred Van Lente and drawn by Clayton Henry.  It opens with a straight forward scene of ancient Ur (as in Mesopotamia and The Epic of Gilgamesh) where a mysterious device is set off which destroys civilization.  And if you’re a fan of the old Eternal Warrior comic, there’s an Easter egg in there for you.  Flash ahead to modern times and a Christian fundamentalist theme park which teaches you how dinosaurs and cavemen lived together.

Here we meet the extremely earnest Obadiah Archer, son of a Reverend and a Senator.  Obie, as he’s called, has been raised in this amusement park (yes, expect home-schooling references).  He’s not seen the outside world.  He’s been raised as a warrior to go forth and slay “The Man of Sin.”  Specifically, they’re sending him to “that festering isle of corruption and criminality.”  Yes, New York.

Of course, things are not what they seem.  This is a comedy of cults.  A fundamentalist cult in the beginning.  The 1% taking an amusing turn as a pagan cult at the end.  Add a drunken immortal caught in the middle of a struggle for the pieces of an ancient artifact of great power.  It’s a hoot.

The deadpan delivery is what makes this comic work.  Obie Armstrong is the naive fish out of water who doesn’t realize how absurd most everything he says is.  Everything is taken literally.  Think Stephen Colbert, but trained by Bruce Lee.  This book might be described as The Colbert Report with superheroes.  Archer and Armstrong aren’t *quite* superheroes.  Valiant tends to keep things an inch away from superheroes, but it’s close enough for an analogy.  You have a true believer and an old cynic thrust together in the midst of an ancient (and sarcastic) conspiracy.

The sense of humor is what sets this comic apart.  The surrealism of contrasting some of the more extreme social/political tropes of the day with actual cults is both breezy and biting, which isn’t the easiest thing to pull off.

Highly recommended for those who like to watch Comedy Central’s news-ish offerings.  Highly not recommended for people of a far right wing bent who take dogma too seriously.

Comments

  1. The comedy in this book was great. It’s a mix of serious with silly and absurd that works really well. I loved this book.

    Hopefully, the people that this book mocks can find some sense of humor in it. I hope we see some “equal opportunity” mocking. Those “wine and cheese” liberals deserve it.

    One quick note, he’s Obadiah Archer, not Obadiah Armstrong. Armstrong’s the big fat guy who’s lived a long, drunken life and likes to recite poetry while he fights.

  2. What is REALLY scary is they’re building this “Christian Theme Park” in Kentucky. – For real. Complete with a life sized Ark, and riding dinosaurs.

    I really enjoyed this first issue, curious to see where it goes!

  3. Any relations the old Lance and Armstrong? http://www.comixology.com/Archer-Armstrong-1992/comics-series/8334

  4. Newsflash! Comics industry leans left! Also: Water is wet!

  5. Jon Stewart says:

    In other news, Engblom butthurt for 76,736th consecutive day.

  6. Actually, that’s the number of days that have gone by since I’ve commented here. Really? “Butthurt”? By offering a molecule of tweakery to my beloved left-leaning industry? Okay…if you say so, Jon.

  7. Shawn Kane says:

    Believe it or not some of us that are on the Right tend to not get offended as people think. Sure the loud ones get all the press with their calls for censorship and stuff but that would be like saying that all Liberals Occupy everything or riot at G-8 Summits or while talking tolerance hate any opinion that differs from theirs. They’re the loud ones as well. Most people are just normal people that go about their business.

    I loved Archer and Armstrong #1 and look forward to following the series.

  8. Bull Anthony says:

    Yikes. So, in spite of those bits of pop-political satire, which I thought felt tacked on and tried too hard to be clever, I found the book to be nothing special. Let me be clear, I was a huge fan of the orginal series. I also spent over an hour in a comic book shop hunting for AAA #1 — I did eventually find the store’s last copy, misplaced, hiding behind some other Valiant title. Summation: I wanted nothing more than for this book to be great. I am just… incredibly surprised at how glowing of a reception this has book received. The writing is weak. Armstrong has completely lost his personality. Archer has.. hair? The villains are called “The 1 Percenters”! C’mon, that’s Bazooka Joe humor. I do like the idea of the hunt for the alien MacGuffin/device thingymabob. But, other than that, I could care less about these guys. Original AAA #1 I fell in love with those two from the get. Anyway, I’m happy people are liking it — hopefully that means the comic will stick around long enough to grow and become great again. I really just don’t get all the fawning over this issue that’s going on.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Todd Allen, The Beat: “When the teasers for Archer and Armstrong #1 came out, there was a little bit of noise from the political parts of the web about what an awful liberal smear job the book was because of some villains billing themselves as the 1%. I’d gotten a good laugh out of villains calling themselves the 1% and wearing golden masks of bulls and bears (an obvious stock market joke) and I figured the usual noisy political types might be over-reacting. Come to find out, Archer and Armstrong is a much more political book than I was expecting. It’s also utterly hilarious. Unless you’re a dogmatic Republican with limited-to-no sense of humor. If you’re one of those, stay FAR away from this comic. It will set you off.” [...]

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