ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG: Wrath of the Eternal Warrior by Fred van Lente and Clayton Henry is a good follow-up to V1; even though it’s a crossover with Valiant’s Eternal Warrior series, I didn’t actually realize that so I’d say it worked well. Gilad, the Eternal Warrior, wants to kill Armstrong over the events of the first book, so Armstrong and Archer must stay one step ahead of him, locate the world’s new Geomancer, and prevent the Sect’s latest scheme. Great fun, though I was amused that one super-assassin tosses off in passing that he’s JFK’s real killer — I’ve mentioned in Screen Enemies of the American Way how the Dallas shooting has become a kind of proof that a given fictional assassin or killer is a big deal, and this is a textbook example (my friend Ross pointed out the same throwaway detail is used in the anime/manga Golgo 13).
JOE GOLEM, OCCULT DETECTIVE: The Rat Catcher and the Sunken Dead is a non-Hellboyverse story by Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, Dave Stewart and Patric Reynolds. Set in an alt.timeline where New York is half underwater, the protagonists are Simon Church, an aging occult investigator, and his grumpy legman Joe Golem — who as flashbacks show is a real golem, but with enough blood on his hands Church has blotted the truth out with amnesia drugs. The two multi-part stories in this volume are fun, though it lacks the magic touch of Hellboy.
STONEHENGE: The Story of a Sacred Landscape by Francis Pryor argues that far from being built according to some master design, Stonehenge was cobbled together over centuries: the site was sacred for so long that people kept adding and adjusting it (Pryor speculates the bluestones in the circle were added to give a more human scale the bigger stones lacked) while other features were eroded with time, or ruined with bad attempts at redesign. This was interesting but I’d picked it up under the impression it would be about the modern world’s long efforts to interpret Stonehenge, so I was a little disappointed.
#SFWApro. Public domain photo by Daveahem on wikimedia commons; all rights to cover image remain with current holder.