Review: Archie #1

There’s been a lot of speculation about Archie Comics Riverdale relaunch. There were fears that it would turn into a grim and gritty reboot, on par with the infamous Fan Film Trailer made by Point Blank Creative in 2011. However, Mark Waid had a reputation that didn’t match those fears, and artist Fiona Staples has the brightest style, even when illustrating very dark scenes. I’ll address the tone of the new series and the overall quality of the book.

CAUTION: There may be SPOILERS ahead, despite my best efforts to avoid them.

Archie2015_01-0ARCHIE #1

Script: Mark Waid
Art: Fiona Staples, Andre Szymanowicz with Jen Vaughn, Jack Morelli
Regular Cover: Fiona Staples
SDCC Exclusive Covers: Fiona Staples
Variant Covers: J. Scott Campbell, Colleen Coover, Tania del Rio, Joe Eisma, Francesco Francavilla, Genevieve F.T., Michael Gaydos, Sanford Greene, Robert Hack & Steve Downer, Dean Haspiel, David Mack, Moritat, Mike Norton, Jerry Ordway & Jose Villarubia, Ramon K. Perez, Ron Salas, Greg Scott & Steve Downer, T. Rex & Andre Szymanowicz, Brittney Williams, Chip Zdarsky
Blank Sketch Cover Also Available
32-pages / full color / $3.99 U.S.
On Sale Date: 7/8

Solicitation:
COMIC SUPERSTARS MARK WAID AND FIONA STAPLES REIMAGINE AN ICON! Change is coming to Riverdale in this can’t-miss kick-off to Archie’s new ongoing series! Familiar faces return in new and unexpected ways in this must-have #1 issue! As the new school year approaches, you’d think Archie Andrews would be looking forward to classes and fun—but nothing is as it seems in the little town of Riverdale. But is this a one-off or a sign of bigger changes awaiting for America’s favorite teens—and the entire town? Find out in this exciting and remarkable first issue!

archie1clip

Review:
Archie Andrews has been around for nearly 75 years, one of the oldest characters around and over the years, he hasn’t really changed. Some have found that to be a drawback, but Mark Waid sees that as Archie’s strength. Returning to the character’s iconic roots, he writes Archie as a normal teenager. Archie is not the most popular kid in school, or the class president, or the smartest kid in his class, or overly athletic. Archie is just normal. The most interesting aspect of the story is the breakup between Archie and Betty Cooper, which comes amid the looming arrival of a certain wealthy man and his daughter. Jughead is shown as Archie’s friend, not for doing what everyone wants done right away, but what his friend needs him to do.

Fiona Staples puts as much care her as she does into an issue of Saga, and every character has their own way of carrying themselves, from Archie’s general comfort that reveals a shyness about his deepest feelings, Jughead’s easiness in his own skin, Reggie Mantle‘s  snake-like charm and Betty’s sadness and guilt that she’s practically wearing on the outside like an overcoat. She renders everyone as teenagers and builds a Riverdale that we can all accept without it feeling terribly outdated.

Should you pick it up? Yes, It’s a great slice-of-life comic that is appropriate for almost all ages, although very young readers might have trouble with the tone, as it’s  written for an older reader, around the same age or slightly younger than the characters. However, adult readers can still enjoy it as it’s not written down to accommodate children, showing more respect for readers than most comics on the stands today. There’s also a look back at Archie’s first appearance in Pep Comics #22 for those that enjoy seeing how far the character has come. Personally, I would have preferred another few pages of story, but at least the extra bit fits. A slice-of-life comic may not be for everyone, but that shouldn’t stop you from giving it a shot and deciding for yourself.