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Secretive, methodical, the so-called 'One Percent'

Secretive, methodical, the so-called 'One Percent'

July 4th, 2012 by MATT MOORE, Associated Press in News

This image provided by Valiant Comics shows a panel featuring "The One Percent" from the first issue of "Archer & Armstrong." Archer & Armstrong - an odd couple of an ancient immortal and a home-schooled and well-trained teenager acting as a fist of God - find themselves at the cabal's mercy deep under Wall Street in ancient crypt where they find out about a plot to stabilize the euro - and boost profits, too - by destroying Greece.

Photo by The Associated Press /News Tribune.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Occupy Wall Street went after them and now, too, a mismatched pair of heroes are doing the same.

Whereas the so-called One Percent is blamed for having a majority of wealth at the expense of the other 99 percent, in Valiant Comics' upcoming "Archer & Armstrong," it's a secretive and sinister cabal of money managers and financiers willing to sacrifice more than jobs for profit - human lives, too - to steer the fate of the world for their own gain.

Archer and Armstrong - an ancient immortal and a home-schooled, combat-trained teenager acting as a fist of God - find themselves at the cabal's mercy deep under Wall Street in ancient crypt where they find out about a plot to stabilize the euro - and boost profits - by destroying Greece.

Writer Fred Van Lente said "The One Percent" makes its first appearance in the final page of the first issue of "Armstrong & Archer," which is in comic shops Aug. 8, followed by the second issue out Sept. 5.

"American comics have a long tradition of ripping social issues from the headlines so the heroes can punch them in the face," Van Lente said of the title that is illustrated by Clayton Henry. "Superman went after lynch mobs and war profiteers in his first adventure in 1938, so "Archer & Armstrong' is much in the same vein."

The team, who previously worked together on Marvel's "Incredible Hercules," said the story line is taut and brisk, but imbued with a subtle sense of humor, sarcasm and a nod to conspiracy theories no matter how outlandish they may seem.

"What we're really trying to do is make fun of the hyper-polarized world we live in, which is reflected in our leads, one of whom is this cloistered martial artist and the other a hedonistic strongman," said Van Lente.

"It's not your traditional superhero comic, although I'm pretty sure Armstrong could pound the stuffing out of most mainstream superheroes and villains," said Henry of the odd couple team.

Archer is an immortal with a proclivity for inebriation and Archer is "highly-trained, well-intentioned, brainwashed, naive teenager who is on a mission ordained by God," said Henry.

"They team up, but Armstrong also spends a lot of time showing Archer that the world is lot different than what he was raised to believe," he added.

The characters were created by Jim Shooter and artist Barry Windsor-Smith and were part of Valiant's offerings in the early 1990s.

Now, with Valiant's return to publishing after a decade, and its newly-released titles "X-O Manowar," "Harbinger" and "Bloodshot," the oddly-paired duo is the fourth title for the New York-based publisher.

Van Lente said he had no fear about creating and writing "The One Percent" for the new title. When he pitched Valiant about his ideas for the series, it was a concept they embraced.

"In later issues they'll fight ninja nuns beneath the Vatican Library and learn the secret connection between Nazi occultists and Tibetan monks," he said of the heroes. "So claiming that the American financial markets are secretly controlled by a Masonic cult of devil-worshippers sacrificing the homeless to the New Testament demon Mammon beneath the NYSE wasn't really that big of a stretch."