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Comic Book / Archer & Armstrong

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Archer & Armstrong is a Valiant Comics series created in the 90's by Jim Shooter, Bob Layton, and Barry Windsor-Smith. In 2012 Valiant began its Continuity Reboot, with this series as part of the first wave.

Millennia ago, the Anni-Padda brothers, Ivar, Aram, and Gilad, returned to the city of Ur with a strange device known as the Boon. Unfortunately, Gilad was killed in the process, so Ivar, stricken with grief and against Aram's wishes, used the Boon in hopes that it would bring his brother back. The resulting explosion not only revived Gilad, but granted the brothers immortality.

In the present day, young Obadiah Archer is given one task by his parents: to slay the demon known only as "He Who Is Not to be Named." Venturing into New York City, Archer finds his target in Aram, now a drunk vagabond calling himself "Armstrong". As they fight they are kidnapped by the 1%, a dastardly group of greedy businessmen, where Archer learns a stunning truth: not only are his parents allied with the 1%, but they are both part of a larger organization called The Sect. Teaming up together, Archer and Armstrong span the globe as they pursue a common goal: taking the Sect down.


The series lasted for 25 issues, ending on October 2014. Following The Delinquents, a miniseries featuring Quantum and Woody, they returned to the spotlight in A+A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong, a new series by Rafer Roberts and David Lafuente.

The relaunched Archer & Armstrong contains examples of:

  • Ambiguously Brown: Archer's foster sister Mary-Maria. She eventually tracks down her birth family in issue #24 and discovers she's from Rio.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: A number of them, many working against each other.
  • Akashic Records: Several of the conspiracies and Archer have the ability to tap into the Akashic Record, thus instantly gaining whatever ability is required at the moment. At the start of the series, Archer was "only" able to use it to become immediately proficient in whatever martial art or trained ability was needed at the time, but after an encounter with the HARD Corps, has begun making use of their psionic abilities.
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  • Been There, Shaped History: Armstrong knew many historical figures on a friendly basis, was a knight on the quest for the Grail in the 6th century AD, caused the Great Chicago Fire, and was responsible for the sale of Manhattan Island to the Americans.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: There was more than met the eye to numerous historical events, from Archimedes' death to Alan Turing's suicide to the Kennedy assassination. Not to mention how many people just happened to be personal friends with the Anni-Padda brothers.
  • Censored for Comedy: Played with with General Redacted. Some of his dialogue is censored in such a way that it's not clear whether he's swearing or not; it's implied that he's actually pronouncing the black bars somehow.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The 1% is this combined with an Ancient Conspiracy.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Armstrong is almost immortal, but the millennia he's lived through come at the cost of "a million stolen lifetimes screaming inside me."
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Mary-Maria tries this; despite the outfit fitting fine, the first person she meets sees through it.
  • Expy: Elliot Zorn, a villainous businessman, totally doesn't look like Mitt Romney...
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: The entire Archer family speaks like this. Even when fighting to the death, they won't use anything harsher than "goldangit" or "flippin' bullcorn".
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Armstrong's justification for refusing to kill a possessed Archer.
  • Lost World: The Faraway, complete with dinosaurs.
  • Odd Couple: Archer is young, innocent, celibate, a teetotaler, agile, and a deeply religious Christian. Armstrong is ten thousand years old, has seen it all, is promiscuous, a heavy drinker, a brick, and an atheist.
  • On the Next: Each issue includes the first page of the next one.
  • Pillow Pregnancy: Mary-Maria uses one to smuggle guns into Area 51. "It's twins."
  • Shout-Out:
    • When the group needs to answer a security riddle, Kay guesses "42".
    • One of Archer's army of siblings is named Bort. Which is even funnier when you consider he was raised in an amusement park.
    • The entire "American Wasteland" arc is one long series of appearances by celebrities that go unnamed, but whose identities are obvious: Elvis, Tupac Shakur, the Notorious BIG, Kurt Cobain, Bruce and Brandon Lee, and Jim Morrison are just a few of them.
  • Spiritual Successor: To The Incredible Hercules. Archer even looks like Herc (although he looked that way before the relaunch). The Eternal Warrior spin-off is even written by Greg Pak, Van Lente's Incredible Hercules co-writer.
  • Stout Strength: Armstrong may have gained some weight over the last few centuries, but he can still kick your ass.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: The Promised Land Supervised Fun Center and Learning Park has exhibits showing ancient humans interacting with dinosaurs. It turns out they're right.
    • Much like The Invisibles, one of the running points in the series is that most if not all conspiracy theories are absolutely true. This is played largely for laughs, but can get serious again at the drop of a hat.
    "So you know how the Internet is full of insane conspiracy theorists who say the world is actually run by a hidden cabal of secret societies? Funny story."
  • Stable Time Loop: During a cross-time drinking binge with his brother Ivar, Armstrong makes a point to go back to his childhood and give himself, at age five, his own first beer.
  • Warrior Poet: Armstrong is fond of quoting poetry, and has a well-known work of his own: The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Who Shot JFK?: When encountering the trapped spirits of famous people, Archer and Armstrong learn Lee Harvey Oswald was actually hired by J.F.K., to kill Jackie O. because he was having an affair with Marilyn Monroe. He missed.