We finish another wonderful Fred Van Lente Day with a visit from the ghost of Fred Van Lente Day Future, as I take a look at next week's issue of Archer and Armstrong, written by Fred Van Lente and drawn by Khari Evans and ChrisCross.
One of the best, if not THE best, attributes of Archer and Armstrong is the excellent work that Fred Van Lente has been doing with the exploration of conspiracy cults. In the world of Archer and Armstrong, basically every conspiracy out there is for real and there are all these various factions of a giant Sect out there have been more or less pulling the strings from behind the curtains for millennia.
One sub-sect was obsessed with the immortal now known as Armstrong. They sent one of their devoted followers to kill him. This follower, Obidiah Archer, realized that his sect (including his adopted parents) were psycho killers and broke free of the sect and joined up with Armstrong to fight against the Sect in all of its forms (while also trying to find out the truth of his origins).
Since that opening arc, we've met a few different sub-sects, with my favorite so far being the Null (who worship nothingness - "Nothing Lasts Forever"). Well, in the current storyline, the various sub-sects are now at war with each other.
In the first arc on the series, we learned of a device known as the Boon, which gave Armstrong (and his two brothers) immortality. Now a variation on the boom is being sought out and whoever finds it will control the Sect.
Archer and Armstrong would normally be there to stop them, but Archer and Armstrong have split as partners for a while now after Armstrong betrayed his young friend by sleeping with Archer's adopted sister (who Archer is in love with).
So now they have to work together because only Armstrong knows where this device is held. Here they reunite...
But the problem is where Archer's motives are pure or not. Remember, he was raised by a cult and he is not a huge fan of Armstrong right now. Would he really betray his former best friend?
Van Lente does a great job in this issue of making us doubt Archer as the story unfolds. In addition, he brings Archer's sister (Mary-Maria) back into play in a great sequence that explains where she's been in the book since she and Armstrong "made sloppy."
As you can see, Khari Evans does a fine job with the character-driven work that Van Lente delivers in Archer and Armstrong every issue.
Since this is an advance review, I don't want to spoil too much, but the revelation of where the wheel is was handled really well and the cliffhanger was a strong one.
This is a really great series and if you haven't been following it, you really should. The third trade paperback just came out this week. Go get 'em!
Okay, that's it for this year's Fred Van Lente Day!
I hope you had fun on this magical day!