Indie Comics Spotlight: Archer and Armstrong, Bravest Warriors, Punk Mambo

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By: Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)


Archer and Armstrong: The One Percent #1

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“From 1997 to 2007 ‘the richest one percent alone absorbed nearly sixty percent of the total increase of US national income.'”

The One Percent have been described as villains in just about all media, but in the world of Valiant they’re actually a cult of super-rich bad guys content with screwing anyone and everyone over. What they have is a perception problem, especially when compared to the heroics of Archer and Armstrong. Maybe a book like Archer and Armstrong: The One Percent #1 will alter that perception slightly (probably not). The issue is written by Ray Fawkes, illustrated by Joe Eisma, colored by Ulises Arreola and lettered by Dave Sharpe.

Austin the a member of the One Percent, keen on living up to his reputation as a masochistic jerk. Despite his father’s wishes, he displays a persistent arrogance when it comes to his role in the One Percent and his concept of what the group as a whole is capable of. Turns out, Austin might have been the smartest man in the room, putting things in motion that will forever change the One Percent. Those changes aren’t necessarily for the better, as his actions means that Archer and Armstrong will more than have their hands full in dealing with Austin and the others.

Archer and Armstrong have never been shy about their disdain for any and every cult they cross paths with, but the One Percent might be the one that gets most of their ire. While Fawkes doesn’t include the duo in Archer and Armstrong: The One Percent #1, their presence is clearly felt by the One Percent. In that regard, Fawkes has done a great job encapsulating everything that makes the One Percent so feared by Archer and Armstrong: they’re brash, scheming and count on their vast resources to get anything they want. The issue funnels through the actions of Austin, who’s about a perfect embodiment of what public perception of the One Percent is as you could want. Fawkes wants the reader to know about the One Percent from their point of view and Archer and Armstrong: The One Percent #1 does a fantastic job relaying that point of view.

Tapping Eisma for the illustrations in Archer and Armstrong: The One Percent #1 was a great call, as his work seems very nonchalant. It’s an appropriate feeling considering the main protagonist in Austin and Eisma offers very clean lines and finishes that give the book a polished feel. He doesn’t get bogged down in making some of the illustrations too mature for a wider audience; for instance, he manages to let the reader know that Austin is big on orgies without oversexing those panels more than he needs to. Arreola’s bright colors are a nice complement to Eisma’s art, somehow making a book about a secretive cult feel a bit more lighthearted than it honestly should.

Fans of Archer and Armstrong know who the One Percent are, but Archer and Armstrong: The One Percent #1 gives them a lot more context. They’re a group who does what must be done to come out on top, caring little for the total carnage left behind in their wake. Fawkes does a great job making Austin seem like the worst person in the world who’s interesting in a way that makes you want to know what he’s going to do next. Eisma’s illustrations are very concise and embellish Austin’s arrogance in ways that make you hate him that much more. Archer and Armstrong: The One Percent #1 may not feature the two title characters, but it’s clear by the end that they’ll need to step up their game to deal with some of the new “decisions” made by the One Percent.

Archer and Armstrong One Percent #1 is in stores now.


Bravest Warriors 2014 Paralyzed Horse Giant

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“Lords of chaos, rip my consciousness away from this world.”

A horse is a horse, of course of course. Unless it’s a telepathic horse who can see things that others can’t and happens to go by the name of Paralyzed War Horse. A character such as he demands a plethora of tales and that’s what KaBOOM! is going for in Bravest Warriors 2014 Paralyzed Horse Giant. The one-shot is comprised a few short stories. “Jellyfish Beach” is written by James Tynion IV and illustrated by Erica Henderson, “Flies” is written and illustrated by Kat Leyh, “Got Your Back” is written and illustrated by Tessa Stone, “Paralyzed With Hunger” is written and illustrated by Pranas T. Naujokaitis and “Outside the Realm of Time” is written by Mairghread Scott and illustrated by Meredith McClaren.

Do you like quirky, left-of-center things, things that are just so unusual, you’re drawn to it? That’s pretty much Paralyzed Horse (and all of the Bravest Warriors for that matter)—a horse that can’t move but has far-reaching knowledge of the present and future. We’ve assembled an amazing team of diverse creators to tell stories of a girl named Beth and her um, unusual horse. This oversized one-shot features new original stories from Paralyzed Horse’s log that span all of eternity and forever, guest starring the entire wacky cast of Bravest Warriors.

Bravest Warriors is one of those properties that trades in the absurd and Bravest Warriors 2014 Paralyzed Horse Giant is no exception. Each story revolves around the aforementioned horse, showcasing his abilities to see far and wide through the universe. Despite the various writers and stories, there’s a common theme running through all the stories that enforces that characterization of Paralyzed Horse Giant. Each story is very whimsical and entertaining, offering a certain level of inanity that keeps the stories feeling airy. Those stories should appeal to all-ages as well, even if there are a few aspects that may aim a little older.

Artistically, there’s a lot of creativity on display in Bravest Warriors 2014 Paralyzed Horse Giant. Each artist offers their own rendition of the title character and those versions all share enough similarities that the book doesn’t feel disjointed. The colors are bright throughout, enforcing the notion that the book is aimed at anyone and everyone. Characters bear their trademark looks as well, which keeps Bravest Warriors 2014 Paralyzed Horse Giant existing in the universe without feeling out of place.

Bravest Warriors 2014 Paralyzed Horse Giant is a pretty whimsical book that fans of Bravest Warriors will definitely want to check out. The stories are about as ridiculous as you’d expect, with each one doing a great job of showcasing the title character. The writers each do a great job of delving into that universe, exploring the character and those surrounding him. There’s a rather disparate range of art styles pervasive throughout, each of which is appropriate for the relative story and the character of Paralyzed Horse Giant. Bravest Warriors 2014 Paralyzed Horse Giant is a very lighthearted and entertaining book that has something for everyone.

Bravest Warriors 2014 Paralyzed Horse Giant is in stores now.


Punk Mambo #0

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“Punk used to be so different. It felt dangerous.”

Punk and mambo are two seemingly disparate types of music. The former is known for fast, hard-edged music, while the latter is generally more upbeat. Combine the two though and you get an almost entirely different beast altogether. What’s that beast you ask? Valiant Entertainment has a response in Punk Mambo #0, written by Peter Milligan and illustrated by Robert Gill.

Victoria has lead something of an interesting life rife with charm at certain points. She started at a posh girls boarding school before transitioning to the gutter of the London punk scene, ending up with an affinity for voodoo in the swamps of Louisiana. It’s through visit back home that she catches up with a couple of punks from her past in Noxo and Dexy, as well as a voodoo priest named Joy Mayhem. Unlike most other reunions though, the three she’s going to see would probably rather she didn’t go see them.

Punk is most often related to the music that accompanied the movement, but there’s a lot more to it than just that. It was an idea of being counterculture and Milligan really nails that concept in Punk Mambo #0. Victoria’s return to London is a great way to show the reader that there are remnants of the punk scene, but very little of what’s left holds a candle to the way things were. In that regard, the punk scene acts a vehicle for the concept of voodoo and acceptance. Those who considered themselves “punk” found it difficult to gain any traction in terms of popularity with those around them. Milligan taps into this idea of being an outcast and spins it on its head, merging it with the idea of punk being an avenue of voodoo. 

There’s always been a certain griminess associated with punk, replete with a mish-mosh of colors and styles. Gill taps into these recognizable traits of the movement and illustrates them quite elegantly. His style seems to evoke the 80s in terms of its finishes and palettes, effectively transporting the reader back to a different world. Victoria’s look is very appropriate for the work as well, as Gill creates her as an outsider to both society and voodoo. Based on her appearance, she’s not the first person you would think deftly manipulated voodoo magic and Gill manages to illustrate her in a way where the only place she does “fit in” is with the punk scene. There are a few panels where the voodoo takes full effect and Gill infuses those panels with a sufficient level of mind-bending horror.

Punk Mambo #0 is a fascinating book at the intersection of punk and voodoo. It visits the former with a sort of reverence and longing for what it once was, while it treats the latter as a dangerous multiplier of sorts. Gilligan’s story is an extremely straightforward revenge tale, but Victoria is very likable as a main character, despite her seeming inability to be part of any world larger than her own. Gill’s illustrations are a fantastic fit for the book, offering a look at the often gritty and unkempt world of punk. Punk Mambo #0 is a great one-shot that presents a very interesting lead in Victoria who could offer an intriguing draw to other stories.

Punk Mambo #0 is in stores now.


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