Sunday, July 12, 2015

Comic Review: Archie #1

I've never been a big follower of Archie, but the marketing push of a relaunch of the series was big enough to make me pay attention. It's always been something in the background, that I knew existed, but this is the first time I've really paid much attention to it.

Notably, one of the best known characters is not in this issue at all. This issue focuses on setting up Betty and Archie, leaving Veronica out completely. She will be in there soon, but it's more important to establish Archie and Betty first. They have practically been together their entire lives, until The Lipstick Incident, which broke them up but they will not tell anyone, even the audience, what happened.

I found all of their friends forgettable, with the exception of Jughead. Everyone wants Archie and Betty to get back together, but only Jughead had enough personality for me to remember him. It probably says more about me that I like his character so much here: he seems smarter than everyone else around him, doesn't care about a lot of things, and operates in his own little world without even trying to convince people that he knows what he's doing. He manages to pull this off without being insufferable, which is surprising, though it's very possible others would find him that way.

From my little exposure to older Archie comics, they always felt like the 1950s, only with some strangely placed modern elements as it tried to evolve. This comic goes for that deliberately, and it feels oddly like it works. Somehow, you have the principal complaining about teenagers and rock and roll, while there's a background character playing with a quadcopter. You have Reggie as a straight up unironic greaser, while another character is yelling at Siri. It being done deliberately makes it almost feel cohesive, which was more than I could say of those older comics I'd read.

I have to talk about the ending, which is either great or terrible, if not both at the same time. After spending the entire book talking to the audience, feeling just like Ferris Bueller, Archie says that he's really not sure how to get over Betty. He invites the audience to help him, giving them the Twitter handle for Archie comics and a hashtag to use. It is either a great ending gag or a terrible one, and I can't figure out which exactly it is, but I can't not mention it.

I liked this issue, and it works fine as a first issue, but there wasn't anything exceptional about it for me to grab onto. I'll probably check out the next issue, but I'm not too enthusiastic or impatient for it to get here.

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