Archie Volume #1
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, Veronica Fish
Colourist: Andre Szymanowicz, Jen Vaughn
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Editors: Mike Pellerito
Publisher: Archie Comics Publications
A review by Amelia Wellman
Who would have thought that what the comic book world needed was a modern reboot of Archie Comics? Let’s take this goofy redheaded kid that’s starred in comedy one-shots since the 1940s and give him an arching storyline, relationships that actually make sense, and have him say the word ‘bae’. Doesn’t seem like it would work. But it does!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know Archie Comics. It’s been a mainstay in grocery store checkouts for decades. But change has suddenly come to Riverdale. Waid has created a surprising take on Archie Andrew’s origin with him starting his sophomore year fresh off a breakup with Betty. The Lodges are just moving in, Jughead’s got a bit of a tragic back story, Reggie is even slimier than usual, and there are ample POC characters throughout.
Archie Volume 1 collects the first six issues of his modern reboot. It covers the Lipstick Incident, which is the cause of Archie and Betty’s breakup, and Veronica Lodge moving to town. Heart-wrenching breakups and new kids moving to town: very standard stuff when it comes to high school related dramas and comedies. It offers so much besides that though. There’s a subtle humour all the way through but also some classic slap-stick as Archie bumbles his way through anything physical. The main characters have revamped back stories that add more to the lifeblood of the comic. Jughead’s family was rich when he was a kid but went broke when he was ten, Betty is a video-gaming, gear head tomboy, Veronica is more of a ‘personality’ (like a Kardashian) than just an heiress, and Reggie is a sociopath that considers himself the underdog. There’s also a larger cast of secondary characters that adds more variety outside of the main five and makes it feel more alive as a community. And then there’s Archie, the titular character of the piece. He’s the same good-natured klutz, sans the checkerboard in his hair that he’s always been.
The art in Archie Volume 1 is a far departure from the classic art that Archie has had since the 1950s and has been provided by three amazing artists: Staples, Wu, and Fish. Staples covers the first three issues with her minimalistic style. Her characters are highly expressive but the backgrounds are near bare, focusing more on the amazing colours present. Wu offers sharper lines and more detailed backgrounds in the fourth issue, and Fish offers a nice mix of both previous artists in issues five and six. All together it’s beautiful to look at and even though the art shifts slightly, the bright colours tie it all nicely together.
Buy it! The new Archie comics show the hilarity and all-ages appeal of the classic tales but in a wholly modern way. With new character back stories, new character models, but the same charm that’s been with Archie throughout the years, each issue is a delight to read and should not be missed!