This Week in Comics—January 15, 2014

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Archer and Armstrong set out to end the Sect Civil War as Armstrong faces betrayal, Batgirl explores Gothtopia but discovers not everything is sunny in Gotham, the Renegades set out to destroy Harada, and Aric’s armor finds a new host.

The issues for the week are so-so.  Archer and Armstrong continues to be a bright point in the month and finds a nice balance of humor and action and would probably be the winner of the week.

The comics reviewed this week are Archer & Armstrong (2) #17, Batgirl (3) #27, Harbinger (2) #20, and Unity #3.

Archer & Armstrong (2) #17

Publisher:  Valiant Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Fred Van Lente

Artist:  Khari Evans/ChrisCross

Date:  January 2014

Title:  “Pyramid Scheme” Sect Civil War part 3

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Archer and Armstrong (2) #17

Archer’s dark side has surfaced after the escape from the Faraway and now he’s even willing to sacrifice Armstrong to get what he wants.  The quest for the Wheel could be nearing its end and Archer finds himself in a face-off with Mary-Maria and her Sisters of Perpetual Darkness.  If the Wheel is found, will Archer become a tyrant?

Archer & Armstrong is rapidly becoming one of my favorite comics out there right now.  The story has a great balance of humor and action and just enough weirdness and quirkiness to make it stand out.

While Archer & Armstrong gets the humor, I feel Valiant’s other buddy book Quantum & Woody misses the mark.  As seen here, there is a lot of stuff that can go down in a book which I’d still consider part comedy.

The Sect Civil War does feature “Dark Archer” as he dubs himself and I don’t I think I’d like the nice gullible and sheltered Archer back…so I hope he doesn’t go too far off the deep end.  I would like the storyline involving Mary-Maria being possessed by her and Archer’s parents at least revealed soon because I don’t find it realistic that Archer with all of his heightened abilities wouldn’t notice that something is off with the girl he loves.

Archer & Armstrong is a great, fun read filled with interesting characters that are quirky but not too quirky.  The story leads into an origin issue in Archer & Armstrong #0, but the next issue kicks off a Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps crossover called Mission:  Improbable.

Batgirl (3) #27

Publisher:  DC Comics

Cover Price:  $2.99

Writer:  Gail Simone

Artist:  Robert Gill

Date:  March 2014

Title:  “A Healing Curse” Gothtopia

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Batgirl (3) #27

Gotham City is a perfect place and Barbara Gordon spends the days patrolling the city as Batgirl helping people.  When cases of poisoned Joker Brand Ice Cream are delivered throughout the city, Batgirl learns that a dark horror might exist within.

I haven’t gotten any “Gothtopia” titles so I was kind of in the dark on what the storyline was about.  I like the idea of a “perfect” Gotham, but the issue didn’t have me running out to buy the other issues.

I didn’t like or dislike the issue.  It just felt like an Elseworld issue, but the ending justified the story a bit…but the story also risks becoming an Invisibles or Matrix style story.

The real power of the story is to see what Gotham City would be like if it were Metropolis.  I like the idea of a “happy” Gotham and the bright clean illustrations by Robert Gill help make this possible.  Gill almost gets it with the his art, but it still needs a bit of refining.

The issue is continued in Detective Comics (2) #28.  I don’t know how long Gothtopia is running and since I’m not planning on getting Detective Comics (2) #28, I hope that Batgirl (3) #28 makes sense when I pick it up…Batgirl continues to be fun, but unfortunately keeps getting sucked into the bigger “Bat” events.

Harbinger (2) #20

Publisher:  Valiant Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Joshua Dysart

Artist:  Clayton Henry

Date:  January 2014

Title:  “Resistance” Part 1

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Harbinger (2) #20 Variant Cover

Harada is making his move on the world and vowing to take control.  The events leading up to this move are revealed as Harada faces a hacker that ties the Harbinger Foundation to Project Rising Spirit…Peter and the Renegades are at it again to bring down Harada, but this time Harada’s fighting back.

Written by Joshua Dysart and illustrated by Clayton Henry, Harbinger continues to be one of those series I underestimate.  Each issue I’m hesitant to pick up because it is on my fringe, but each issue I read I enjoy and this new “Resistance” story arc proves to be another fun twist.

For ages, Harada’s plans have kind of been in question and I’ve never really understood any end goal for his collection so psiots and his obsession.  I’m hoping that “Resistance” might provide the answers in that area.

I am not a big fan of Harada’s storyline and this issue is very light in Renegades.  I do like the hacker kid they introduced (Octavio Gonzalez) and will be interested to see how his story ties into the main story…I just hope that the opening sequence doesn’t turn out to be a dream or some alternate timeline stuff.  Marvel & DC do enough of that.

Harbinger is still a fun read, and one of Valiant’s better titles.  Go back and get some of the back issue collections (they are reasonably priced) and see if you like where it is going before you pick up these issues (though Valiant does do a good job giving a series rundown on the back of the cover).

Unity #3

Publisher:  Valiant Comics

Cover Price:  $3.99

Writer:  Matt Kindt

Artist:  Doug Braithwaite

Date:  January 2014

Title:  —

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Unity #3

Harada’s team has captured Aric’s armor, but the Livewire finds herself battling for control as nuclear war seems imminent.  Aric and his followers are on a last ditch effort to stop Harada, but Aric might find help from an unlikely source as his ship begins to sink.  Harada also must watch who he keeps close since there might be a traitor in the ranks of his new team.

Sadly, even though I get feeds from Valiant, I didn’t realize Unity was a continuing series until recently.  I thought that the series was mirroring the original Valiant’s Unity mini-series which helped launch other new series in the original Valiant run…but this is a continuing “team” book.

I do like that Valiant, a company that is a bit unconventional, is doing an unconventional team book.  Unlike something like the Avengers where they all like each other (or at least play nice), Unity is almost a non-team like the Defenders or even the Thunderbolts with a  lot of undermining.  I hope that the stories become a bit more self-contained since this is kind of bouncing between X-O Manowar and this series right now.

Though I read Harbinger, I’ve never gotten the whole Harada thing.  I am not sure if we’re supposed to like him as an anti-hero or if he’s just supposed to be a regular villain.  As Harbinger fleshes this series out a bit more, Unity seems to paint him as a bit of hero who puts the job before the team…I do like the ending of this issue when a change in direction occurs.

The art is also strong for the art of the series and Unity’s story is thus far compelling.  I think you should give Unity a chance and hopefully, it will continue to develop after this storyline.  I think that the “team” will need a few more members and I do hope that this doesn’t just turn into Harbinger, X-O Manowar, or Eternal Warrior.

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This Week in Comics—January 8, 2014

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This Week in Comics—January 22, 2014

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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