ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS ISSUE #1
Fred Van Lente weaves quite the tale here, of an immortal man who greeted Noah as he came off of the ark after the great flood. Artists Cafu, with Darick Robertson and color artists Andrew Dalhouse, with Diego Rodriguez bring the story to life with a polished tone.
Armstrong, the aforementioned immortal, is holding a small get together with a few friends, teammates, and acquaintances at his bar. It’s a special event: his private vault of wine with bottles older than most can fathom is about to open, and it only opens once a year, and only for an hour. The mood is a lighthearted one as the group anxiously awaits for the vault to present its bounty.
Outside, the mood is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Some less than savory characters have communed on a bridge overlooking the tavern, and are planning to wreak havoc upon the small gathering of heroes. Armed with intimate knowledge of each person in the bar, they bombard the troupe as soon as the vault opens, in an attempt to get one of Armstrong’s prized possessions.
Van Lente is giving readers a somewhat quirky book. Jumping from grin-inducing spats to no nonsense back and forths, often with the same characters within just a few panels, Vault of Spirits is quite a ride. Each character is given a unique personality, and they are translated quite well. Every interaction between different characters comes across as genuine; it’s obvious who gets along and whose traits rub the other the wrong way. The jumps in story between flashbacks and present day is done nearly seamlessly. Although it’s not too often, it’s done tastefully, without making the reader struggle to keep up.
Cafu, Robertson, Dalhouse, and Rodriguez follow Van Lente’s story with ease. The pages flash with brilliant colors and sharply drawn characters. While not too much action happens, this team conveys the mood of what’s happening rather well. Eye-catching colors adorn the pages as needed, which do give a bit of a break from the candle-lit feel of the tavern.
A dialogue-heavy story with little action, it’s still an interesting read. Humor blended with seriousness, and a slight jab or two at religion gives this book an awkward feeling, but not necessarily bad. With this being the first issue, it will be amusing to see how the rest of this story pans out.