REVIEW: Archie #2

It doesn't matter if you've been reading comics for decades, a couple years, or only a few months...just about everyone is going to greet the term “reboot” with a skeptical groan. We see DC and Marvel roll back to a bunch of new #1's every few years, along with giant status quo changes for books that were perfectly fine the way they were. This year, one of the oldest names in comics, Archie, was announced to be rebooting and everyone cumulatively let out the same old groan. Then it was announced that Mark Waid (Daredevil, Superman: Birthright) would be on writing duties, with Fiona Staples (Saga) on art. After that, most people changed their tune. With talent like THAT attached to the reboot, maybe it wouldn't be so bad! And you know what...? It's actually pretty great!

We're now two issues into the reboot that sees Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, and the rest of the Riverdale crew re-imagined in a much more modern setting. The contemporary setting is just the breath of new life Archie needed to be relevant to today's young comic readers. Staples draws the students of Riverdale High with completely unique styles, paying particularly close attention to fashion choices, which allows for a lot of variety. The problems the Riverdale crew have are also going to speak to teen readers, like Archie's desperate search to find a part-time job. He doesn't need to be rich, mind you, he just wants some income he can use to fix up his junker car. Archie could be any of us in that moment, just a kid with empty pockets who doesn't want to rely on his parents to magically fix his problems.

The main story involves a mysterious break-up between Archie and Betty, which has happened before the first page of the first issue. Referred to as the “lipstick incident”, readers (as well as Archie's friends) are left in the dark as to what's happened. It's incredibly refreshing to enter a new story this way and provides a fantastic reason to keep coming back issue to issue. Archie and Betty appear to both care about each other a great deal, so what could have possibly happened that would split them apart? And how is the entrance of Veronica in issue #2 going to affect Archie's chances of reuniting with his long-time girlfriend? As excited I am about the potential of great character development, I will say I'm slightly worried that at some point, one of these characters (probably Archie) will become unlikeable. Either way, I trust that Waid knows what he's doing and I'm always happy to read anything Fiona Staples is a part of.

Whether you've been reading Archie for years, or just now feel like starting something new, this Archie reboot is worth your time. It's a fantastic balance between paying homage to one of the oldest characters in comics and trying something completely new. And fret not, Archie purists! Archie Comics will continue to print new and old Archie stories in the classic style in graphic novel and digest formats!

- Matt

Posted by Matt
Tags: review comic review