REVIEW: All New Archie #1

Script: Mark Waid
Art: Fiona Staples, Andre Szymanowicz with Jen Vaughn, Jack Morelli
Publisher: Archie Comics
Release Date: 07/08/2015

Many, many years ago, my girlfriend at the time was a big fan of…… Sweet Valley High!  You know the series written by Francine Pascal featuring the meandering adventures of Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, twin sisters living in Sweet Valley Ca. Well this series was somewhat of a guilty pleasure for me.  When I would sleep over, there was a distinct lack of comic books.  So, yes I picked up the odd book or number of books.

Reading All New Archie brought back a lot of those same feelings.  I had never read any Archie prior to this book.  Sure I know who he is, know about Jughead and of course Betty and Veronica.  This is a kind of reboot for the modern world, complete with up to date language and an art style that displays Japanese influences.  So does it work?

Writer Mark Waid captures the heart of what I assume to be an Archie book.  This is the second Waid book I have read recently and I do have to say, I enjoyed this immensely.  The script has an easy-going feel, which will appeal to new and existing fans.  The writing reminds me of Waid’s Flash work as well as Bryan Q. Miller’s Steph Brown Batgirl book, with its high school shenanigans.  The characters are likeable and sound enough like, again this is my presumption, the original crew.

Fiona Staples provides the art for the book.  At first glance, the art is a little bland but give it a chance.  When I sat down to actually read the book, I was drawn into Archie’s world of clean lines and stylish angular lines.  One of the things that Staples does well is the interaction between Archie and the reader.  Yes there is some fourth wall breakage, Staples covers each conversation with an honest approach that actually helps make Archie more believable.

Comic fans are a fickle bunch.  When there are changes afoot, the internet practically breaks with knee jerk reactions.  Look at Mecha-Bat for example.  Still given a fair chance, new ideas on old books can help re-invigorate interest.  This is definitely the case with the All New Archie, who if this quality is maintained, will no doubt turn out to be a  number of people’s all new guilty pleasure.

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