Written by Mark Waid
Art by Fiona Staples
Colors by Andre Szymanowicz & Jen Vaughn
Letters by Jack Morelli
Published by Archie Comics
Release Date: 07/08/2015
“Hi. My name is Archie Andrews. Welcome to Riverdale.”
And with these words begins a new era if you will of Archie Comics with the rebooted all-new Archie #1, from writer Mark Waid (Daredevil) and artist Fiona Staples (Saga). The iconic comic book publisher which is over seventy-five years old has recently made extraordinary changes with some of their titles and characters that have resonated favorably with both critics and fans. From introducing the first gay character in Riverdale with Kevin Keller back in 2010, to the darker, more violent horror tales in Afterlife With Archie and Chilling Tales of Sabrina, and finally ending and then relaunching their flagship comic, which may be the publisher’s most ambitious move yet. Anyway, here are my thoughts.
The Real World, Riverdale – As I started reading this first issue, I immediately noticed that Archie is actually talking to his audience, the readers in this case. My first thoughts were of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the nineties Nickelodeon show Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. Then I wondered if Waid was actually trying to give the series a reality show feel. Very interesting.
Chapters- The story is broken up in chapters, three chapters to be exact in this first issue. This is nothing new but I actually like it, it gives the story a nice flow.
Bizarre Love Triangle – what’s bizarre here is there is no love triangle yet. In fact, one of Archie’s love interests does not even appear in this first issue and has yet to be introduced. Some have heard of her and know of her family, but have not yet established a relationship with her. In short, there is no history or friendship yet between Betty & Veronica, there is no Little Betty and there is no Little Veronica.
The script – The story is pretty simple really. A popular couple has just split up and the students of Riverdale High (mainly Kevin Keller, Maria Rodriguez, and Sheila Wu) are doing what they can to get them back together, campaigning for them both to be the homecoming king and queen. Issue one concludes with a new guitar hero and some sabotage. I really feel that Waid has not done anything radical here in this first issue, as the theme to this story is something we may have seen in older Archie stories, it just doesn’t have that bubblegum feel to it. The humor is smart and the dialogue is fresh, and Waid brings to Archie some of the best writing it has ever seen.
The art – The art is simply amazing! Staples gives these characters a refined look while at the same time keeping them recognizable enough to not confuse readers. They are clearly drawn with more detail and seem more representational of what we might see if one were to walk inside an American high school today. Some of the characters are flawed and far from perfect, while others have an obvious sexier look to them. The color team of Szymanowicz & Vaughn should be recognized for their work here as well. They steer clear from that bright cartoonish look and instead bring a mix of colors that really captures the style and essence of the student body.
The verdict – Included at the end of this issue is the very first Archie story that appeared in Pep Comics #22 way back in 1941. Waid points out some of the differences but more importantly the similarities between that origin story and the one this collaborative team has reimagined. Kudos to this creative team for bringing and applying their unique brand of storytelling, while at the same time paying homage to that classic brand of Archie.
REVIEW: ARCHIE #1
Peter Rodriguez (Geek Sushi)