[Comic Book Review] ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1 from Valiant Entertainment

Armstrong and the Vault of Spirits #1

PopCultHQ received an advance review copy of ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1 from Valiant Entertainment. Available this Wednesday, February 7th on New Comic Book Day (NCBD), the one-shot features writing from Fred Van Lente, interior art by CAFU & Darick Robertson, colors by Andrew Dalhouse & Diego Rodriguez, and letters from Dave Sharpe.

Here’s PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of…

Armstrong and the Vault of Spirits #1 – Cover A by Kalman Andrasofszky

ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1

Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by CAFU & Darick Robertson

Cover A by Kalman Andrasofszky
Cover B by Juan José Ryp
Variant Cover by Ryan Bodenheim
Variant Cover by Clayton Henry

What secrets await inside the Vault of Spirits?

Deep beneath New York City’s seediest dive bar, Armstrong – the hard-hitting, harder-partying immortal veteran of history’s greatest escapades – is hosting an invitation-only affair for his most beloved friends and allies! Archer… Ivar, Timewalker… Faith… Quantum and Woody… And special guests from across the Valiant Universe… All have been offered a seat at the table for a personally guided tour of Armstrong’s most valuable and tightly guarded treasure… From the Great Flood to ancient Greece to the height of the Crusades, raise a glass as Armstrong recounts the true stories of his wine-soaked path down through the ages and the artifacts that reside within his own secret archive!

VARIANT COVERS


PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1

Archer & Armstrong. Quantum & Woody. Faith Herbert. Punk Mambo. Ivar, Timewalker. It’s a valiant gathering of friends in this fun one-shot. And not just the heroes. For antagonists, it’s a gathering of secret societies such as the Knights Templar of the White Camelia and The 1%.

But on par with that lengthy list of characters you can expect inside the pages is the creative team assembled for this issue. With Fred Van Lente’s script, CAFU & Darick Robertson with interior art, Andrew Dalhouse and Diego Rodriguez on coloring duties, and the talented Dave Sharpe rounding out the team, ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1 is jam-packed with talent, creativity and fun. Get ready for an epic tale of biblical proportions (figuratively AND literally!) and prepare to enter the Vault of Spirits!

Writing:

Writer Fred Van Lente gets to shine in another one-shot from Valiant. Just as in last year’s IMMORTAL BROTHERS: THE TALE OF THE GREEN KNIGHT #1, Fred tells a heartwarming tale beautifully intertwining history and Valiant canon. ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1 is just more solid evidence that Van Lente is a brilliant at telling Valiant stories. Van Lente also throws in a handful of laughs, which you kind of hope to see when The Delinquents happen to share panel time. And seeing Faith referred to as someone “larping as a cosplayer” had me bust out laughing.

Art:

Artists CAFU & Darick Robertson take turns with the illustrations, the former with the main “Vault” story, the latter with the flashbacks of the early days of Aram Anni-Padda. CAFU brings out the best in each of the Valiant mainstays; instantly-recognizable attire, their expressions and their mannerisms. Plus, he has a sweet two-page spread that I would so hang on my wall as a poster, print, or possibly even original art. Andrew Dalhouse teams up with CAFU on colors and brings a classic tone to the one-shot. With a softened matte look, there’s a warmth to the story that just feels good. Almost a refined look that adds some nice flair to the comic.

Robertson’s detailing is nothing short of impressive. He always gives the eyes something fantastic to take in, and this issue is no exception. To be honest, Darick’s work takes tales to another level as he augments each and every panel through the authenticity and attention to detail. Diego Rodriguez brings life and realism through his coloring of Darick’s pages. Great hues and shades, very nice blending, and good light-sourcing. Diego and Darick are a great pairing.

Dave Sharpe’s lettering is such an integral layer to this story. From smart emphasis, to various sound effects, to flashback captions, and the numerous characters, Dave was given quite the workload for ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1. But in true Sharpe fashion, he comes through like a champ. Beautiful work throughout.

 

PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:

It’s always great to see various members of the Valiant Universe come together for a comic book. It’s also fun having those same members’ often-battled foes to join forces. For fans and readers relatively new to the Valiant Universe, the story is well-laid out, giving ample backstory to each of the characters within the issue.

ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1 provides a very enjoyable look at some of our faves getting together for a joyous celebration. But as is typically the case, the festivities are interrupted and our heroes spring to action. A story that’s a pleasure to read from cover to cover, and an artistic team delivering top-notch artwork. Valiant has wisely assembled the creative to make this one-shot a comic not to miss!

PopCultHQ’s Rating:

5 Out of 5 Stars

 

ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1 can be pre-ordered on ComiXology
and available at your local comic shop and online retailers Wednesday, February 7th!


Be sure to follow the creative team!

Writer – Fred Van Lente

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Artist – CAFU (Carlos Alberto Fernández Urbano)

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Artist – Darick Robertson

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Colorist – Andrew Dalhouse

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Colorist – Diego Rodriguez

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Letterer – Dave Sharpe

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Publisher – Valiant Entertainment

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About Jason Bennett 3518 Articles
Jason Bennett is PopCultHQ's chief editor, a contributing writer, and comic book reviewer/reporter. One with the Force. Browncoats Unite! So say we all! Follow Jason on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TahoeJBennett