Lovable Archie Andrews is back in a new number #1 issue written by Mark Waid and drawn by Fiona Staples. The issue is a fast paced, entertaining re-imagining of Archie and the gang at Riverdale.
Waid drops the reader into the middle of the drama capturing the fun and spirit of previous incarnations of the Archie mythology. He has added some new wrinkles to shake up the familiar machinations of Archie’s world, making it accessible to new readers without alienating longtime fans.
Waid’s decision to have Archie break the fourth wall makes the comic seem like a 22 page reality TV show and it works. The “Lipstick Incident” which fuels the narrative, spreads throughout the school faster than a brush fire. The manner in which the supporting characters gossip and deal with the cause célèbe provides Waid with the opportunity to flesh out some of the supporting characters as well as to inject some humor into the plot.
Staples’ art is a perfect match for this Archie reboot. Her pencil lines are clean and her story telling gives a maturity to the series that makes it seem more like a graphic novel than a monthly Archie comic book. The colors are bright and lively and help to bring out the best in Staples’ pencils. The character designs, modern yet faithful updates of Archie’s leading and supporting cast, lend themselves to casting possibilities when Archie hits the small screen in the next year or so.
Archie #1 is one of three “Riverdale” books that Archie Comics will use to help celebrate the long running character’s 75th anniversary. Waid and Staples have crafted an enjoyable first step into a brand new world for Archie with some intrigue and humor, and the issue even provides a neat history lesson for Archie fans new and old. Archie Andrews may be creeping up on three quarters of a century, but with this reboot, he looks better than ever.
3 1/2 stars out of 4