“Archer and Armstrong” started out being a religious and political mess that eschewed good storytelling and character development to put forth random religious and political ideas. Of course, that could’ve been a set up for a much better story with the release of “Archer and Armstrong #2.” Could this issue save the story? Not even an omnipotent power could save this story.
The story picks up where Archer finds out his whole commune is really a bunch of Freemasons hell bent on world domination and are not really Christian at all. He gets captured, escapes and then he and Armstrong go to Rome to find the six pieces of an artifact called The Boon.
If you thought the first issue was heavy on the religious and political fanaticism, this issue takes one step above and beyond what’s considered normal. This issue calls the Freemasons the “1%” (obvious nod to Occupy Wall Street); the financial issue in Greece, the current economy and saying that it can be restored by a virgin sacrifice (Archer).
Other nods that we’ve all seen in these Freemason stories is the Da Vinci Code, in this case saying it’s a “classic black ops misinformation operation” and Michelangelo and his art. It’s almost a drinking game at this point.
As for the story itself, it’s as paper thin as the last time. There’s a Freemason conspiracy and the only way to stop it is to find a bunch of MacGuffins found around the world that have to do with Italian Renaissance painters who’ve had ties to the church. It writes itself.
Just like the first issue, the second issue suffers from unlikeable characters for various reasons. Let’s look at Archer for example. He’s what the literary world calls a “Gary Stu.” He has way too many abilities and the ones he has are the right ones to use in the right situation. He escaped from the Freemasons and figured out a puzzle later on in the comic pretty easily. Armstrong is just your typical rowdy super strong drunk who has lived for 10,000 years and can’t remember where all the pieces of The Boon are. The comic tries to make him interesting by making him say he’s been to this place when it was this back in this time period but he’s still uninteresting.
“Archer and Armstrong” is a comic that loves to throw a bunch of controversial political and religious nonsense at the reader just for the sake of having controversy in the story and sound cool. It also loves to name drop and make references to recent events to the point where the characters suffer badly and the story becomes just one big weird nonsensical mess. Any sane reader would throw the comic into a worm fire halfway through the comic once they who they made a new character. No amount of repentance can make up for this comic.