Are you suffering from reboot fatigue? Have Jurassic World and Terminator Genisys spiked your attention but ultimately left you feeling hollow and unfulfilled? Are you convinced there are truly no original ideas left with Hollywood recasting Spiderman yet again and Ben Affleck taking up the bat cowl? Then let me turn you on to a reboot that gets it right, everyone’s favorite high school redhead Archie relauched this week an all new #1 and amazingly it was pretty good.
I should preface this with the fact I have zero history with Archie. I have a faint memory of a Saturday morning cartoon called The New Archies but thats about it. I did love me some high school though and consider myself lucky making life long friends at Thomas Jefferson High. We rocked out in bands, we had minimum wage jobs and we concocted super plans to impress girls. Looking back on it, we had a pretty good life so in this way I figured I might enjoy the Archie mythos as a revisit to simpler times.
The story starts out with Archie talking to the reader, introducing the main players as well as himself, and introducing the the main conflict, Archie and Betty Cooper have recently broken up. Riverdale’s power couple is no more and while we aren’t told the details of how this came to be , its hinted that it was not a good break up and its tearing Archie up a little. The writing by Mark Waid is top notch. The dialogue sounds like its coming from high schoolers and the balance of breaking the 4th wall and progressing the plot is well done. If you’ve experienced a break up you’ll feel that bummed out feeling as well as that hint of optimism for the future. Jughead makes an appearance as well and Waid does an awesome job giving the character his own voice. Its distinct and more mature than the rest of the cast and you’ll get the feeling Jughead is wise beyond his years, a kind of burger eating idiot savant.
The art I thought was really crisp and sleek. I wasn’t familiar with Fiona Staples work before but she doesn’t shy away from expression and the detail work in the faces really shines when trying to emote high schoolers scheming and reacting to one another. The color palette is bright and bold throughout the book and it really adds to the upbeat nature of Riverdale. One splash page in particular is pretty great showing off Archie playing guitar on stage, it brought back a few memories for me.
And maybe that is the point of Archie nowadays. Maybe I’m wrong but I’m not sure the kids are gravitating towards the Archie franchise. I haven’t seen a lot of Archie merch floating around at the mall or anything, so who is Archie for anyways? Maybe its for 30 year old dudes who want to relive high school, but we have softball leagues for that. I think in the end it is just a way to tell classic coming of age stories that never really get old. Thats why this reboot works fine and leaves you feeling good because the story is timeless and as long as its well written and well drawn you can’t really go to wrong. I’m looking forward to reading Archie for awhile, the issue ends on a Veronica moving to town cliffhanger, riveting stuff right? ^_____^