By: Fred Van Lente (story), Clayton Henry & Pere Perez (art), Matt Milla (colors)

The Story: If you’ve seen a nun handle a ruler, you know the damage she can wreak with a sword.

The Review: As with many titles, what caught my eye on this one was Van Lente’s name, which I know best from all the work he did with Greg Pak on The Incredible Hercules and the not-very-incredible Herc.  What made the former series work was the buddy relationship between Hercules and Amadeus Cho.  They really had a unique chemistry among comic book partners in the differences of their natures, temperaments, appearances, ages, and backgrounds.

Though different in some of the details, Archer and Armstrong’s interactions clearly resemble the dynamic of Van Lente’s previous duo.  You have Armstrong, the big, brawny ancient whose primary interest is in satiating whatever physical impulse which strikes him that minute.  And you have Archer, the smaller, younger lad whose sober sense of duty and mission comes just a bit short of his companion’s recognition of fine wines.

There’s no denying the yin-yang balance between the two, which explains why Sister Tommy has such conviction they’ll be good for each other.  It’s too bad, however, that she won’t stick around to keep the peace between the two men’s clashing personalities.  Adding a nun with an eye-patch to the mix definitely adds color to the cast, though perhaps Van Lente fears she’ll serve too similar a guidance role as Athena did for Hercules and Amadeus.

Not that there’s much need for guidance by the end of the issue.  I must say, I’m rather shocked the Boon got assembled so quickly.  Six pieces scattered across the world and pretty much all of them found by the third issue.  Seems like kind of a letdown for anyone who came a bit late to the title, but honestly—who would’ve expected that most of a comic’s big, initial premise would get settled within four months?  Van Lente plans this to bean ongoing series, no?

I’ll be especially disappointed if the title doesn’t last much longer after this because it has a really fun, quirky flavor to it.  It’s not just the tongue-in-cheek ideas Van Lente brings to the table (e.g. the Sisters of Perpetual Darkness, ninja nuns protecting the secret catacombs of the Vatican with katanas).  It’s also the unusual character choices for the leads, like Archer’s refusal to use vulgarities when swearing: “Oh, flip this! We’re on a flipping mission, here!”

Henry and Perez put down some decent visuals to paper, but you can’t ignore that there’s a lot about the art that doesn’t quite make sense.  One question that made me start back in confusion: how does Mary-Maria shoot a crossbow bolt through Obie’s waist only to strike Sister Tommy in the heart?  Who exactly is Mary-Maria talking to afterward when she jumps out the window, stammering that she “didn’t mean” to do it?  Moments like those rank the art a little on the shoddy side.

Conclusion: Entertaining, but extremely rushed and inflicted with slightly sloppy art.  It also leaves you in confusion as to the direction and overarching plan for this series.

Grade: B-

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – Although it’s de rigeur nowadays to treat all religious institutions, particularly the Catholic church, as suspicious, Van Lente doesn’t go overboard with his plot-spinning.  In fact, Sister Tommy expresses the virtue of faith best: “Simple, child…my faith is not so weak it can be threatened by a differing opinion.”

– I’m extremely disappointed that we won’t get to watch “the Kabal and the Hashish-Eaters” in action.

Grade

Conclusion