Archer and Armstrong – The One Percent (Valiant Entertainment, 2014)

archer-armstrong-the-one-percent_cvrSTORY: Ray Fawkes

ART: Joe Eisma (art), Ulises Arreola (colour) and Dave Sharpe (letters)

A rip-roaring, explosive re-invention of the one-percent.

New stakes, new faces and murder and mayhem galore are what make up this issue for me and amusingly enough pumped a new lease on life into a beaten group of global villains.

THE REVIEW:

For those of you who have been following the parent series, it’s about a drunken, loud, rambunctous immortal and his partner-in-questionable-heroism who is straight as the arrow his namesake would shoot and who has a great many mommy and daddy issues and is maybe the deadliest combatant alive. It is during one of their (mis)adventures that they have to deal with the One-Percent who are named about as on-the-nose as you can get what with their being a shadow council of the richest of the rich and powerfulest of the powerful (I know that’s not a word, you’re not myenglish teacher dammit!) who are pledged to the demon Mammon and serve his will for favours. You know, the usual. Well the theory was good but in the end they got their golden-mask wearing heads pounded and their designer clothes wearing arses handed back to them.

BUT, then comes this issue to re-invigorate them. We meet Austin, son of one of the cabal, who is the picture perfect definition of the over-the-top spoiled child, clearly possessed of little to no restraint, almost Caligula-like in his manner and most likely a tad socio-pathic and then some.

Without spoiling the fun for you, just know that from there all hell breaks loose and there are explosions, pointless and gratuitous violence and enough shots of nearly naked hot women to make even Micheal Bay happy. Except that unlike most of his movies, this actually has a story somewhere in there and we get a nice feel for Austin who is clearly going to be a villain worth being terrified of and the last pages make me as a reader look forward to seeing whether they can live up to the new expectations as villains.

I was weary of Fawkes being on this title since I’ve been luke-warm on his comic work that I’ve seen thus far, but once again as with all their other creatives – Valiant shows that in the right environment anyone can thrive. It’s just a one-shot, but it’s a slam-bang good time and unlike almost all the other mainstream superhero stuff out there, you can (as in almost all the Valiant comics) feel a sense of time, of urgency and of dynamism as things actually seem to change and grow and evolve. It’s genuinely interesting and fun in a way that’s been sorely missed by many like me.

Toss in solid art by this duo who put just enough detail to make it all work without being over-kill on a page with nice clean panels and most importantly: great face-work. The expressions and other details really make this work and the nice, bright colouring works wonders in this broad-daylight episode of ultra-violence.

THE LAST WORD:

If you are a Valiant reader, do not miss this!

If you haven’t been reading it (Valiant and/or A&A), you might want to give this a try. Seriously.

OVERALL SCORE: 7.9 / 10


 

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