Sunday, March 17

Archer and Armstrong vol. 1: The Michelangelo Code (Valiant, 2012)

Collecting issues #1-4

I never read Valiant during the early 1990s, but I have always been aware of it and its quick early – and fleeting – success. I knew the properties were much loved by many, and was vaguely aware that it was being revived of late. Then I've been hearing nothing but good things about the revamp, especially from the hosts of the Comic Book Page podcast, who endlessly trumpet the comics and the company as, at least now in the beginning, “comics done right.” So when I noticed this trade being solicited a few months ago – not the first of the new Valiant – I decided to roll the dice.

I was a little taken aback as I read it to see that at least a certain aspect of the story plays off of the ridiculous and offensive Da Vinci Code phenomenon (I take the historicity of my Faith seriously) – of course, a clue that it is so appears in the very titlebut frankly it's pulled off so tongue-in-cheek and so entertainingly that I find I can't hold that ultimately fleeting element of the plot against it. What you end up with here is a good, solid story that moves right along, issue by issue – there are only four in this slim volume, but those four issues contain enough story that it seems like more – with two surprisingly quickly developed antagonists-turned-partners whose banter had me grinning a good bit of the time. It's graced by nice, clean art that gives this tale a very cinematic air. I definitely will be back for subsequent volumes, and am checking out some of the other revived Valiant titles.

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