Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Catching Up // 11 Reasons to Enjoy ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR #3-4!

It's true. I'm over a month behind on reviewing some of my favorite comic books. I'm tempted to let all of them go and to move forward, but the completist in me really needs to follow up on the ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR series, which wrapped up last month.

ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR is a joint comic book venture between Archie Comics and Dark Horse Comics. It features the writing of Alex de Campi, the pencils of Fernando Ruiz, the inks of Rich Koslowski, coloring by Janet Miller, and lettering by John Workman. And it features one of the most unanticipated cross-overs in recent history!

Here's how we got to ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR #3-4: The entire Riverdale Gang won an all-expenses-paid vacation to a remote tropical island during their Spring Break. Betty and Veronica -- spurred on by Cheryl Blossom -- got into a bloody fistfight over Archie's affections. Betty discovered a ebony blade contained within a remote "Jaguar Goddess" shrine and -- in a moment of anger/silliness -- called down vengeance on both Cheryl and Veronica. That's when the Predator (who just came down to Earth of a hunting event) skinned by Cheryl and Jason Blossom alive!

The Gang decided to return to Riverdale, but ended up bringing the Predator back with them! He then began systematically slaughtering anyway with a knife or a gun, including Pop Tate, Sabrina, Kevin, Moose, Midge, Reggie, Chuck, General Keller, and Salem the Cat! This left us at the end of ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR #2 wondering how to move forward!

The violence continued for the rest of this series. To be sure, nobody -- and I mean, NOBODY -- left this series unscathed.

But here's the thing... This series might have been called ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR, but this wasn't an Archie story. It was all about Betty and Veronica (and the Predator, of course). The girls inadvertently instigated the Predator Hunt, the girls were central to the Predator Hunt, and the girls were key to resolving the Predator Hunt. Archie and the others were ultimately there for the ride!

I'm going to steal an idea from this blog post and highlight some of the great moments from the final two issues of this series. To be clear, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS ABOUT ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR #3-4. Graphic, bloody spoilers. If you don't want to be spoiled, then you should stop reading now. You have been warned.

Here are eleven reasons to enjoy ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR #3-4:

1. Sabrina's Home Has Magical Defenses: Betty and Veronica snuck over to Sabrina's home at the beginning of issue #2. She evaluated Betty's ebony blade and confirmed that it is indeed an object of dark magic -- and it's key to defeating the Predator. Unfortunately, the Predator brutally slaughtered our favorite Teenage Witch before she could offer any suggestions.

Of course, the Greendale Police Department investigated this bloody murder -- and ended up finding a mass grave at her home. That revelation resulted in Riverdale's police force traveling to its sister city to help out with the crime scene -- thereby forcing the Riverdale Gang to defend their community from the Predator. But we received one final indication that the Riverdale Police Department would be of no use in this story: They tripped some sort of magical defense system! This causes the Spellman house to vanish and the cops to all turn into goats. Bah!!!

2. The Riverdale Support Squad Ain't Half Stupid!: Jughead returned to the school at the beginning of AVP #3 with news that most of their friends were wiped out by the Predator. This leads to a powwow between Ginger, Nancy, and Big Ethel that completely makes sense. "We're leaving town!" They invite the others to join them -- but frankly, they're survival chances increased 100 fold by leaving Betty and Veronica behind!

3. Jughead Just Can't Catch a Break!: Jughead stopped briefly for a chocolate bar and ended up getting evicerated by the Predator. I thought that he'd make it through this series intact, but Juggie really has bad mojo these days. He's either heralding in the apocalype or getting his spine forcibly removed! Veronica's epitath was pretty harsh, also: "Oh, Juggiekins. I always said that junk food would kill you." No fair!

4. Dilton's an Egghead!: Dilton probably comes the closet to stopping the Predator compared to most of the other Riverdale residents... except that he does it in a really creepy way. It turns out that he's built a robot version of Archie Andrews. After all, everything about Riverdale High centers around dating and Dilton is the guy who never gets picked. So he built a robot suit patterned after the boy who always gets picked. Fortunately, Robot Archie has a combat-mode that manages to push back against the Predator...

5. No More Dilton!: ... Until he lets down his guard and opens up his suit. Things aren't too pretty for Dilton once he does that!

6. Lodge Manor Has a Magic Medical Machine: Veronica might not be a Teenage Witch, but her family has a medical device that evidently can fix any medical condition, including near-fatal stab wounds, as we discover in AVP #4!

7. Unfortunately, Veronica Isn't Good at Reading Instructions: Veronica set the machine on "11," when it's never supposed to be used beyond "4" -- much to Archie's dismay! Of course, why would you create a machine in the first place with such off-the-wall instructions??

8. Introducing Pureheart the Powerful?: We find out what happens if you turn up the Lodge's magic medical machine to an "11" setting. It turns your daughter's clutzy boyfriend into a musclebound beefy hunk with superhuman strength!

9. Fighting! Gunfire! Stabbing! Carnage!: The final fight scene between Betty & Veronica and Archie and the Predator is off-the-walls! Like I wrote before, nobody escapes unscathed -- especially Archie!!

10. Girl Power for the Win!: Veronica might have a gut-wound and Betty might be missing an arm, but these two gals finally take out the Predator with one final decisive attack! That's what happens when you slaughter everyone's favorite redhead!

11. The End?: Betty manages to drag Veronica into Lodge Manor's panic room and both girls are fixed up by the magic medical machine. Betty & Veronica survived! They were triumphant against the mighty Predator! But I think Betty might have lost it a little when she witnessed Archie's death! It turns out that there was a third survivor -- and the magic medical machine has a plastic surgery option. Oh Boy! Maybe we're looking at Pureheart the Predator in future months!!

This was a great series! If you haven't read it yet, then run over to your local comic book shop and pick up the back issues -- or wait a month or two for the trade paperback collection that's bound to be published! It is completely worth it for all of the crazy, bloody, and subversive wackiness!


DC Hampton Jacobs said...

UGH! I don't mean to be a spoilsport, but I dislike these kinds of stories intensely. Violence as entertainment, whether in comic books, TV shows or movies . . . I just can't get ready for it.

At the homeless shelter I stay at overnight, there's a TV room and ONLY the most violent movies are shown. The men (most of whom have been in prison) insist on it; they don't like any other kind of film. Beheadings, disembowellings, graphic shootings and knifings! It's like "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" on a never-ending loop, and they can't get enough. The gloves have definitely come off in our popular culture, and there are no boundaries anymore. I keep asking myself: What about the kids?

Jon said...

No problem, Donny! We all have different tastes. Truth be told, Mark didn't care for this series either.