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‘Archie vs. Predator II #1’ (review)

Written by Alex de Campi
Art by Robert Hack
Published by Archie Comics
/Dark Horse Comics

 

The year was 2015, before Riverdale and Sabrina were introduced on The CW and Netflix, respectively, and Archie the comic was riding the wave by expanding its roster to include Life with Archie: The Married Life and Archie Meets KISS to harken back to the wacky crossover stunt 1994’s Archie Meets The Punisher (Batton Lash/Stan Goldberg/John Buscema). Archie would also embrace the horror element with its modern line of comics.

While falling asleep in art history class was a subject I excelled in, I do remember talking about “the ‘fungibility of text’. Meaning, mutually interchangeable.

Archie is able to insert itself into TV, genre, comics, movies because Archie can fit in anywhere.

As long as you stay true to the essence of these iconic characters, a writer can throw canon and continuity out of the window and have a free license to kill (and in the case of Archie vs. Predator Vol. 1, quite literally).

While working on the comics to review this week, I was intrigued to hop in on issue #1 of Vol. 2. It was great, but I get lost and easily confused, so I dug out the old ComiXology iPad and bought Vol. 1. What are the chances you would find this at a store? Maybe 50/50 as my LCS is likely good for it, but who knows? What a time to be alive!

Volume #1 was written by Alex de Campi and drawn by classic-looking Archie artist Fernando Ruiz. This is more of what you might expect from an Archie comic with classic design. For spoiler sake if you want to skip the rest of this paragraph feel free. No spoilers in the rest of the review and I don’t think it will affect your enjoyment either way. Basically, a Predator kills Archie and rips out his spine and then B & V resurrect the Predator to look like Archie. He speaks in emoji! So, Predator is a clone that looks like Archie. Got it? Good!

In Volume #2, Betty and Veronica and Archie arrive in a Riverdale that looks more like the TV show or a Brian Michael Bendis issue of Jessica Jones than their traditional cartoony counterparts.

I will say, on my second reading, de Campi continues the story with references to the first book, but by using a multiverse structure, is able to fork off into a more modern take on Archie and pals. Archie office superstar Robert Hack brings his Chilling Adventures of Sabrina style to the book, with gritty realism being brought to (after)life by the painterly colors of Kelly Fitzpatrick.

Veronica needs to convince our Archie to head down Memory Lane to see if they can get back to their own Universe. And in Archie fashion, with a machine gun on his back he trips and falls, good old clumsy Archie!

The sophisticated storytelling mashes up a Black Mirror vibe with self referential bits that would be at home in a Deadpool comic or movie. Specifically, Veronica is afraid of being ‘cancelled’ — a joke that’s perfectly at home in the #metoo era as it is in reference to media and comics. Well played, indeed.

Dilton plays a roll here, too, different than his Toy Man role in Volume #1, but let’s just say his fascination with tech continues.

When referencing the moody art and deft storytelling, I should also mention this is also recommended if you like Walking Dead comics.

This issue was more than what I expected and was super fun. I love the Ruiz/Parent/Goldberg style of comics as much as I love the Riverdale TV show. This brought both worlds closer and has a Predator in it! Great stuff!

 

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