|Archer & Armstrong: The Michelangelo Code|
By Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry
Valiant Entertainment, 2013
Archer & Armstrong Volume 1: The Michelangelo Code, collecting the first four issues of the series written by Fred Van Lente and illustrated by Clayton Henry, is a largely entertaining and slyly clever if occasionally trite superpowered buddy comedy cum Da Vinci Code pastiche. Obadiah Archer is a highly trained assassin raised in a creationism amusement park by ultraconservative Christian nutcases. Archer's mission is to hunt down the Anti-Christ or something like it but in reality he's been manipulated by his parents, the heads of a secret society, into retrieving the last bits of an ancient device that may hold the key to immortality. The sheltered Archer comes to New York and quickly finds Armstrong, an immortal drunkard with connections to many people and events throughout history. They are both captured by the secret society - The One Percent - and Archer quickly learns of his parent's treachery. Archer & Armstrong team up to keep The One Percent from getting the device and global misadventures from the Vatican to the Himalayas ensue.
But despite this manic villainy the whole thing feels almost kindof dull; it's entertaining, but only just so. Van Lente is a competent storysmith, and Henry's art is fairly decent. But at the end, despite the obvious nature as a continuing story with still much left to tell, I wasn't exactly jonesing for more. Overall this is a well-produced, solid if slightly trite, somewhat fun read. I do not want to damn this with faint praise: it's is an excellent value at ten bucks, and despite it's somewhat well-worn nature it's got enough going for it to recommend.