How will this anniversary issue fair next to the series as a whole? Read on to find out.
The official description from Valiant:
IT ALL ENDS HERE…SERIOUSLY…THIS TIME IT LITERALLY ALL ENDS HERE. (MAYBE?!)
Be here front and center as the original creative team of Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry lead off a 48-page A&A hollapalooza honoring Valiant’s most dysfunctional duo! Plus: the ofﬁ cial Archer & Armstrong drinking game! Armstrong’s ﬁ rst drink! A very special Timewalker adventure! And much more!
Featuring a who’s who of funnybook madcappery with all-new stories and shenanigans from Donny Cates (Buzzkill), Shawn Crystal (Deadpool), Ray Fawkes (Batman: Eternal), Justin Jordan (Dead Body Road), Barry Kitson (Empire), Michael Walsh (Secret Avengers), and many, many more!
Archer & Armstrong celebrates it’s 25th issue, but unfortunately this is overshadowed by the sad fact that this is also the final issue. Despite the fact there’ll be further Archer & Armstrong related comics to be released, it’s sad that the delinquent duo won’t be around any longer, as though I’m excited for Valiant’s new direction, I do question if it’s worth it.
The scripting of this anniversary issue is split between several writers, with each delivering a different story. Opening proceedings we have series writer Fred Van Lente who gives a touching tale that sees Archer inspire a new group. The rest of the issue is split between John Layman, Ray Fawkes (who sets up his One Percent special), Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal, Justin Jordan, and Joey Esposito. All these writers do a fabulous job, but it’s Layman and Jordan that stand out, with both giving genuinely entertaining short tales.
The art duties are also split between several artists, with original series artist Clayton Henry handling the main story, delivering some visuals that capture the emotional depth of this final chapter, whilst also giving some excitement. Ramon Villalobos, Andy Kuhn, Khari Evans, Barry Kitson, Rafer Roberts, Joe Eisma and Juan Doe also deliver some amazing illustrations, with each capturing the tone of their particular story perfectly. I did however find Roberts art to be ill fitting next to the rest, as though it worked well with the story, it was initially a little jarring.
Archer & Armstrong #25 sees an end of an era, giving a varied selection of fun stories. It does however fall into the same trap that most anniversary issues do, with the varying stories leaving a mixture of feelings. Despite this the large majority of this final issue is to a very high standard and comes highly recommended.