Thursday, July 9, 2015

ARCHIE #1: The Relaunch Begins!

I have to admit it. I was nervous about the relaunch of ARCHIE. I haven't objected much to the character redesigns. I've just worried about the execution. It's always about the execution.

I've always chuckled when people talk about continuity in Archie Comics. I mean, everything and anything is canon with funny books like Archie Comics -- except when it's not. That's how you can have Archie & Friends celebrate Christmas several times each  December within each of the digests. Or how you can make parodies of "Thor" or "Guardians of the Galaxy" featuring these guys.

Plus there was that whole "new look" theme within the digests a few years back that never quite came together. I liked the idea, but the new look had some issues.

So I've been nervous about Archie Comics throwing their all into this company-wide relaunch. It's hard not to think about what will happen if this falls flat.

Fortunately, they chose two "big guns" to launch the relaunch. ARCHIE #1 was released yesterday complete with 21 separate cover designs. Husband Mark (who normally picks up my comic books) had to go through the pile of ARCHIE #1's with the owner of our local comic book shop to make sure that I got the correct cover. Which for me is pretty much any cover. I'm not picky. Mark ended up asking if there was anything by Giselle. There wasn't, so I got a pretty nice Fiona Staples cover.

I have to admit that I was very happy with the final results. There is a little bit of "fourth wall" throughout the book as Archie Andrews introduces himself to the audience and gives us a little bit of understanding about what's going on in Riverdale. It seems that he and Betty Cooper have been couple (a "power couple," if Kevin Keller is to be believed) for years.

Something happened. It's become known as the "lipstick incident." Nobody knows anything about the lipstick incident except for Archie and Betty, and they've agreed to keep quiet about it. Jughead knows too, but he also is keeping it to himself. But it was big enough that Archie and Betty have just broken up and the entire school is reeling!

Especially Kevin Keller, Sheila Wu, and Maria Rodriguez. They can't wrap their collective head around the concept of a Bettchie-less Riverdale High. (Have I mentioned that I hate it when couples combine their names??) These three -- after failing to get Jughead or Betty to share details about the lipstick incident -- conspire to get Archie and Betty both voted in as Homecoming king and queen. They figure that one romantic event will bring this separated couple back together.

They finally talk Jughead into helping them stack the votes in favor of Archie and Betty. Of course, this is Jughead. He's always working on his own agenda. He has his own private scheme to get our main couple back together, but it's more subtle than anything Kev, Sheila, and Maria could ever dream up!

I really liked this story. The art is gorgeous and the character redesigns are all pretty great. It's great to see new looks for all of our old characters -- including Dilton, Raj, Reggie, Mr. Weatherbee, and Trev Smith. There's even hints of the Archies in this book!

I was left wanting to learn more about the "lipstick incident" and the whole break up, but I also know that Veronica Lodge will be appearing soon! Jughead stands out perfectly -- making me even more exciting about his own upcoming comic book relaunch! And I'm all about Kevin and his girls!

I definitely recommend ARCHIE #1. "There Is This Girl" was written by Mark Waid, with art by Fiona Staples, coloring by Andre Szymanowicz & Jen Vaughn, and lettering by Jack Morelli.

1 comment:

Donny Hampton Jacobs said...

Fiona Staples' character drawings have a stark, angular look that I'm not crazy about . . . and I still detect strict editorial limits RE hair length, clothing, etcetera. The guys, for the most part, still look like they come straight out of the 1950s, and that's problematic. Based in Boston now, I'm paying attention to men's styles (between job searches, nothing much else to do), and I can tell you that young men definitely do NOT sport a '50s throwback look these days. If they do evoke that era, it's with an added Punk Rock sensibility in colors, haircuts, tattoos and/or piercings. Archie Inc has got to loosen up a lot more before I'm satisfied! BTW, I share your enthusiasm for Gisele's work.