It’s safe to say Archie #1 was a huge hit with fans, critics and sales alike.
I for one was surprised by how amazing Fiona Staples’ art was and how perfectly it fit the genre and characters. Mark Waid also delivered an Archie that was very modern and felt right at home with today’s youth. It firmly established Archie and his world but now he’s got a love triangle unfolding. Is it good?
Archie #2 (Archie Comics)
Last month Betty and Archie split up, although it may not have been Archie’s idea. This issue opens with Archie attempting to get a job at a construction site and his best bud Jughead trying to convince him otherwise. The problem with Archie is he’s really clumsy and can’t seem to do anything right in the job department. This issue follows Archie around as he attempts to earn some income to fix up his car and some character development for some key ancillary characters.
This reboot might go down as Mark Waid’s best writing yet. Not an understatement by any means, but damn is this series well paced and consistently entertaining. I’m not the biggest Archie fan or comics like it, but this doesn’t feel like one. Instead it feels like a clever and always interesting take on youth in general and an exploration of the characters. This issue delivers some interesting backstory on Jughead, but really Betty steals the show.
The Jughead backstory works well.
Betty’s character shines through here via action, not exposition. So often comic books today dump information in your lap via narration, but here Betty shines through her demeanor: whether she’d rather play video games than make out with her new boyfriend or attempting to put makeup on for her birthday party, the character is very much alive and is a great example for modern girls/women. She’s her own boss and not just some pretty character for Archie to date.
I’m also really digging Waid’s use of chapters in each issue. It gives each section a beginning and end, but still maintains an overall narrative. It makes the read feel a little bit lighter and allows you to focus on one thing. Take for instance the chapter on Betty where she’s fed up and annoyed with boys in general. It’s short, efficient and well written. The next chapter takes us to a construction site where Archie gets a new job and all his friends stop at nothing to keep his clumsy ass alive. They succeed barely, but it’s his actions here that end up getting him one step closer to Veronica.
Once a tomboy always a tomboy.
Speaking of Veronica, those of you hoping to see these two together need to wait another month. There’s definitely some sparks in this issue, but Waid is taking this element of the series slow.
The art by Fiona Staples is without a doubt one of the biggest draws of this series. In even the most unimportant panel Staples instills a ton of character in her lines, either making Betty’s fuming over dumb boys loud and clear or Archie’s over confidence with a nail gun look hilarious, she simply can’t mess up a thing. Sight gags like Archie’s car are well laid out too and wouldn’t work without her deft hand.
One might argue Archie is a bit cartoonish and not as expressive as Jughead and other characters, but I think this is on purpose to keep him simple and the everyman of the tale. Meanwhile though Betty is fabulously drawn and always incredibly expressive. Her expressions always seem to be spot on and fit each scene perfectly. Heck, I didn’t even talk about how Staples integrates technology into her pages like the page told in panels that look like iPhones!
I think it was the 90’s.
Is It Good?
This is as exciting as comics can get. The art, pace and story are all so dynamic you’d be silly to miss this great series.