A&A: The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong #4
“Beer is proof that God wants us to be happy…”
― Benjamin Franklin
Writer Rafer Roberts’s A&A: The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong #4 represents the very best of the series so far. While A&A: The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong has, as a series, been an unconventional departure from the regular Valiant Universe as well as the Archer and Armstrong intellectual property, it has proven to be enjoyable, entertaining, and humorous. While Archer and Armstrong has historically been comedic and a bit over-the-top, this latest version has really amped up those qualities. Should the events in A&A: The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong #1 through #4 be considered part of the regular Valiant Universe? That is a great topic for a fan-boy debate; however, the quality and enjoyment factor that this creative team has provided readers and fans is quite strong, and as previously stated comes to a peak with A&A: The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong #4.
Artist David Lafuente’s pencils lay the foundation for each issue with a visually timeless comic book art style similar to what many may have seen over the past 50 years in Sunday morning newspaper comic strips or one of the many Archie Comics Double Digest magazines that were published and sold at grocery stores all over the world. It is an appropriate art style to use for this type of tongue-in-cheek (not seriously intended) story which focuses almost exclusively on humor. Lafuente is immensely talented, and actually creates a unique take on this traditional art style with his unconventional use of multiple panels to show motion and focus at times; while at other times showing a larger picture in a visually interesting way that is not common historically. This is a modern take of a classic style. Inker Ryan Winn matches Lafuente’s pencils perfectly, and appears to understand the intended style and feel of the story. Winn’s lines are clean and professional, with clearly defined detail ensuring each page is fully loaded.
Colorist are often overlooked with pencilers and inkers typically receiving a large amount of credit and fan acclaim for their work. It is very important to recognize the massive value of a talented colorist, who can often visually save a book with his or her skills. It happens frequently, and of course a professional colorist won’t tell the public exactly how much they had to fix to make something work for production. Brian Reber proves time and time again that he is the very best in the business, whether he is coloring a traditional comic style such as Lafuente’s work on this book, when coloring artist Lewis LaRosa’s massively detailed and heavily saturated greytones, or coloring the ridiculously photo-realistic work of Mico Suayan. Reber manages to provide a restrained use of color to match the intended style used here; however, there are a number of quality points that are visible, such as shadows that add a element of depth to each character; color gradient background skylines with natural cloud formations; variations in blue for broken glass as light hits each shard at a different angle; and unquestionably the finest “Star Butts” commercial-grade sign ever seen.
If you like sexy ninja-nuns randomly beheading drunken demons at a party, then you will love this book. It’s 100% worth a look!