It’s safe to say the best new series of the year is Archie due to some endearing art, compelling characters and a modernization of characters that keeps their charm but upgrades them for the 21st century.
Sounds like a slam dunk, but a new character (a hugely important one at that) was introduced last issue and finally gets a ton of airtime this week. Is it good?
Archie #3 (Archie Comics)
Seeing as this is a reboot each of these early issues isn’t caked in complicated plot and nightmarish character complexities. The story so far is that Betty and Archie broke up, Archie played a bit of guitar and oh yeah… he also just destroyed Veronica’s dad’s house while working on it. Veronica’s a huge social media star of sorts and just joined his high school. Of course Archie is enraptured by her and this issue follows his puppy dog love for the girl. Let’s get some things out of the way first shall we?
Why does this comic book matter?
Aside from the fact that Archie writer Mark Waid won this year’s Harvey Award for best writer, artist Fiona Staples is practically exclusive to the title since her other book Saga is currently on hiatus. Why is everybody talking about this series? Whenever something classic is made new again we should be paying attention. Not because old stuff remade is automatically better, but because there’s a finger on a pulse and it’s right smack dab on it.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue in particular introduces the third part of the love triangle that has made Archie last for decades. It doesn’t do so with heavy exposition but with solid storytelling, interesting bits that show and not tell and ultimately the whole narrative comes off as believable; believable because Veronica, the b---h that she is, is actually a real person underneath all that persona. She’s playing a part so to speak because there are expectations to be upheld. This is something we can all relate to given how privacy is gone with the Dodo these days.
Archie’s puppy dog demeanor makes sense since he’s a genuine good guy, but Jughead’s best friend protective qualities come out and it’s fun to see him try to thwart the seemingly evil Veronica. On top of this Betty is drawn in effectively and it does not ring false in the slightest.
The art meanwhile has the heavy handed job of making a talking head script look interesting. Expressions can only get you so far, but then that statement wasn’t created with artist Fiona Staples in mind. She’s a wonder when it comes to infusing every single panel with energy. It’s not just faces either, but body language as well. Take for instance a scene where Archie is in gym playing dodge ball. Jughead enters without a single ounce of worry of being hit, but Archie looks like he’s fighting for his life. This very slight and easy to overlook aspect sets the scene and establishes the cool as a cucumber Jughead and the neurotic Archie effectively.
Everybody loves Veronica!.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There’s a pretty gross scene involving puke. Betty doesn’t get much play either, but aside from that it’s pretty solid.
Jughead knows what’s up.
Is It Good?
I’d like to say this is excellent reading for everybody, but the truth is if you’re more of an action orientated person you’re going to find this boring. Then again, if you’re even picking up a comic called Archie and you’re looking for action you’re probably too misguided to know what’s good for you in the first place. Without a doubt the most fun you’ll have with young adults this year.