Two big books, as one Valiant title gets a Zero issue, and another continues the first arc of the latest creative team. How did they fare? Let’s take a look below at this week’s Valiant (Re)visions reviews.
Written by Peter Milligan
Illustrated by Roberto de la Torre
I am getting to the point where I don’t really know what to say about this book anymore. There’s a point in the issue where even Jack and Alyssa, two of the main characters in the comic, don’t even seem like they are having the same conversation, and it’s that kind of split personality that makes this book such a struggle to read right now. As Alyssa goes on and on about how she’s falling in love with Jack, he completely ignores her and instead talks about the importance of McMullen, a guy who he beat up when he was younger. It’s a perplexing scene that just doesn’t work, but what really does here? The issue is literally filled with segments that seem like they’re slapped together with no real thought for narrative flow, and by the time we’re at the end, we’re not given much incentive to like or care for any of the characters or their situations.
The only saving grace to this issue is a bit of an uptick in Roberto de la Torre’s art, whose moody work definitely fits the story, but in previous issues had struggled with his storytelling. This works a bit better – it’s still problematic, but it works better – and when paired with David Baron’s colors, it really works as almost pitch perfect Shadowman art in terms of look.
It’s just a shame that the rest of it reads so rough, and I feel like my idea that this arc has been a bust is validated by the fact that the upcoming “End Times” mini is supposed to already act as a new jumping on point in Milligan’s run. Le sigh.
Final Verdict: 3.0 – a convoluted, messy read
Archer & Armstrong: Archer #0
Written by Fred Van Lente
Illustrated by Pere Perez
At NYCC this past year, I had the chance to sit down and talk with Fred Van Lente, and I talked to him about how he manages to add so much value to our experience by sneakily making us care about the characters he writes about. He never goes out of his way to do it, it just happens as he organically builds the story, the world and the characters, and by the time we get to notable moments – like this issue is full of for Obadiah Archer – they hit so much harder because of that work he’s done. I’m not going to spoil anything from this issue, but suffice it to say, this was an issue that answer our questions about Archer’s origin, makes our heartbreak for the poor kid, and in the process sets up the “Mission: Improbable” crossover event with “Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps”.
It’s a hell of a thing Van Lente accomplishes, and it is all the better with artist Pere Perez onboard. Last issue, I talked about how the book suffered with a less fitting artist on it during the “Sect Civil War” arc, and with Perez back onboard we’re given a perfect partner-in-crime for Van Lente that hits the comedic moments (of which there were few here) and completely nails the character ones. This is a very good issue, and sets up the new status quo while building up one of the titular character’s past. A clever, well-crafted issue.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – Archer’s origin was well worth the wait