Archie (Issues 1-5)
Writer: Mark Waid
Artists: Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, Veronica Fish
Colorist: Andre Szymanowicz
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Let me start this article by saying I’ve never really read much of the old Archie comics. Growing up, they were always around, but even as a child I always felt like Archie was just a little too cheesy for me. And as I got older, I became less and less interested in reading Archie at all. The only time I’d ever read Archie was while I was waiting in line at the grocery store, and even then I was just doing it to kill time.
But in 2015 something awesome happened. Archie Comics took the beloved character of millions and said, “We’re starting over!” They ended one of the longest running comic books in history and started all over at number one. With the brand new, rockstar creative team of Mark Waid (who has written one of the best Daredevil runs of all time, in my opinion) and Fiona Staples (amazing artist of a little book called Saga), Archie Comics set out to completely re-vamp characters that hadn’t really evolved in 50+ years. And boy did they ever succeed!
When I heard that Archie was relaunching with Mark Waid and Fiona Staples, I couldn’t help but be intrigued. So like thousands of others I added it to my pull list, not really knowing what to expect. From page one of the first issue I was absolutely blown away and sucked into the world of Archie and Riverdale.
The writing in this is absolutely top notch and not at all what I expected from an Archie comic. I could gush all day about how amazing Mark Waid is as a writer, and I may very well have! This book is no different. The way he is able to give these old and tired characters a new voice and new life is incredible. He makes you actually care about these characters. By the end of the first issue I was all in and wanting more. And that only continues as you venture into future issues. I found so much of myself in almost every character! The kinship I felt with so many of these characters was something new to me, and I loved it! The way I felt bad for Archie every time he made some bonehead mistake. The way he gets completely mesmerized by Veronica. I remember being in high school and feeling the exact same way about the hot, new girl in school. We are only five issues into this book and it’s found it’s way to the top of my pull list every time a new issue comes out.
The art in this book is just as captivating and wonderful as the writing is. Fiona Staples doesn’t need much of an introduction, but the work she has done in Saga over the past several years has pushed industry standards and opened doors for all sorts of new creative direction in comics. And she brings every bit of that flair and creativity to Archie. She makes you care about these characters through her vibrant expressions and flawless execution. But it’s not just Fiona Staples that has been killing it in this book. Issues four and five put us in the ever capable hands of more amazing female artists, with Annie Wu and Veronica Fish, and the book doesn’t miss a beat. Part of that has to do with the amazing color work of Andre Szymanowicz. His vibrant and lively colors really make this book pop and set it apart from a lot of the bullpen colorists filling up the big two right now.
One of the things that really sets this book apart is the characters. It takes a lot to take characters that have been around for almost 75 years, and make you care about them again. And the creative team on this book does exactly that. Archie is new and fresh. He’s the popular, cool kid, but he’s also accident prone and a goofball. He’s everything you wanted to be in high school while also making you feel like you were him in high school. It’s the perfect formula for a lead character. Jughead also gets a new, almost cooler overhaul. He’s not the same old Jughead we’re used to, and it’s fantastic. He’s the kind of guy you always wanted as your best friend. Then you’ve got the girl next door in Betty and hot, new girl in Veronica. Mark Waid does a fantastic job of giving these girls depth, and making you actually feel for them. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been team Betty. However, the cool thing about this book is that there is a character for everyone, and that’s an absolute win for Archie Comics.
Overall, this book is an absolute must read. I know I didn’t go too in depth into what the actual plot is of this book, but that was completely intentional. It’s the kind of story that needs to be read, and the last thing I want to do is take away that experience from wanting readers. Archie may very well be one of, if not the best new series of 2015, and it should be on your pull list today. Take the journey into Riverdale, you won’t regret it.