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Catching up with Valiant: Archer & Armstrong #0 and Shadowman #0


Archer & Armstrong #0

archerandarmstrong000Gilgamesh as told via Armstrong to Archer. Not a bad premise, given Archer’s virtual immortality, and Archer continuing to learn the “real” world after living the “sheltered” existence he had up to the beginning of this series. Though this is a #0 issue, this story fits in the ongoing continuity, as A&A have been through stuff together already, and are now having some downtime before their next adventure.

The art’s the usual enjoyable quality, mixing with a solid story for an enjoyable issue. This could easily have simply been #10 of the series, as a flashback issue…but given the original Valiant‘s penchant for #0 issues (and that in retrospect, 1993’s X-O Manowar #0 is one of the most iconic single issues I recall from my youth) I think it’s kinda fun having these zero-issues for the current Valiant books.

Even if you’re not following the series in general, if you know the basic concept–Armstrong’s immortal, Archer just escaped a cult and is adjusting to the world around him with Armstrong as his truest friend–this is a nice one-shot story that delves into Armstrong’s past, telling a tale that leads into a scene we saw back in #1 and sheds light on Armstrong as well as the Eternal Warrior.

Shadowman #0

shadowman000This was a rather dark (yet illuminating) issue, providing us with an origin story for Darque. We see his birth and that of his sister, as well as how the children grew up, and the events that led to him becoming what he is, and the character becomes slightly sympathetic in that he’s not JUST some two-dimensional baddie. Sucks what he went through, but there’s a motivation there that one can “understand” a bit.

The art fit the story, and the story fits continuity. While the Archer & Armstrong issue was sort of a flashback issue where we still saw the contemporary title characters, this is a Darque story, and we don’t actually see Shadowman. Which makes this a fine #0 issue–we get backstory on the main villain of the piece, which takes place long before the series, hence a #0 issue (takes place before the events of #1) and as a #0 issue it’s functionally its own thing and doesn’t take away from the ongoing narrative and throughline of the ongoing numbering.

 

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