A little over a month ago Valiant Entertainment released an audio drama interpretation on the 2012 reboot of Archer and Armstrong. Though this obscure rendition does not deviate far from the original source, it definitely stands out as it’s own commodity. And with the talent of Pendant Productions, writers Susan and Jeffrey Bridges, and a league of voice actors, I think that the final result of this endeavor was pleasantly entertaining.
I am going to clear the air early. Is this perfect? No. Could there have been more to be improved upon? Sure, but that is true of any medium. The biggest issue I, personally, had with this audio drama was how dedicated it was to the original script from Fred Van Lente, which can be seen as a good and bad aspect. I absolutely loved, LOVED, what Fred did with these characters, and the story he told; so going on that journey again is always going to be amazing. However, when I pressed play on my phone, I was almost disappointed that there was little, to no, difference between the two scripts. Some part of me really wanted something new, something uncharted, much like the new A&A series by Rafer Roberts
Another complaint I have is the first episode’s timing. There were just so many moments where the pacing was off tempo, either by going too fast, or too slow. And there were even some moments with unnecessary pauses, just leaving some awkward silence; like watching The Big Bang Theory sans a laugh-track. Weirdly, and amazingly, enough, this problem ceased with episode two.
Now that is over, let us get to what these guys did great. First off, the voice actors were great. Pete Milan was an excellent Armstrong, as well as Paul Brueggemann on Archer. This is no audio book where, excepting the few amazing hosts like Jim Dale, the narrator drones on and on. No, this is an audio drama. There is yelling, and fighting, and emotion poured into every word and action. Each actor sunk into their characters, giving cultivating a rich connection between the book’s cast. In addition to this, there were also AMAZING sound effects. These background, ambient, and action noises are what gave the entire drama depth. And honestly, I think that those sound effects painted a clearer picture than the dialogue; like when Ivar ignited the boon in episode one, or when Armstrong is digging through his satchel in episode two, or basically every fight scene in either episode. The directors over at Pendant Productions are not messing around, and their attention to detail is well appreciated.
All around, these little audio dramas are just fun. While strange, this kind of move is definitely something that is not surprising from Valiant, a company that is always trying to expand their shared universe outside of the standard 32-page comic book. That being said, however, I am a giant stickler to respecting the comic book medium. Instead of recreating a team’s book, like Archer and Armstrong’s 2012 reboot, I think that they should have done a whole new story all together for this audio drama. Because, let’s all be honest, if I wanted to experience this story again, I would much rather read the comics and take in the beauty of Clayton Henry’s artwork, then listen to an audio reiteration. And given that they are $4 a piece, if you do not own the original books, I would suggest buying the comics over these recordings. But, if you already own the comics and want something fun to listen to on your drive to work, that isn’t the radio, grab it for sure. Given the quality of these recording, and the talent that went into them, I have to give this a solid 3.5 out of 5.
Check out the official PREVIEW TRAILER BELOW!
Available on iTunes, Amazon and Audible. Episodes 3 and 4 will be released in May and June respectively HERE