Review - Archer and Armstrong: The One Percent #1

"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.