Whilst this may come as no surprise to many, comics books are not just for the superheroes. Case in point; Archie Comics. First published in 1942, Archie books have featured some of the most recognizable characters in pop culture from the titular Archie, his on and off girlfriends Betty and Veronica, Jughead, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Josie and the Pussycats. Recently, there have been a number of re-toolings of the above characters.
Reggie Mantle is the almost hero of the book, accompanied by his canine protector and PR guru, Vader. Reggie, like another famous high schooler has the hots for a girl who has a jock for a boyfriend. Recently, Reggie has had one of his famous soirees upstaged by former friend Archie, which sets into motion a plan of prank-esh proportions.
Tom DeFalco, the man who at one point was synonymous with Marvel Comics due in large part to his work on Spider-Man, returns to high school to chart a simpler time where the biggest problems are fitting in, being cool and trying to win the girl. DeFalco writes with an easy style that is at odds with his over complicated plotting of the aforementioned work on Spider-Man (yes I am talking about the Clone Sage). The ease of the dialogue adds to lightness of the story, which seeks to re-capture the humour and commonplace coincidence of this particular universe, which fans will no doubt appreciate.
Sandy Jarrell seeks to replicate a wholesome approach to the art, albeit with a modern twist. Characters are drawn in block like fashion complete with square jaw. True the art is probably not going to wow a lot of people in today’s world of splash page dynamism. But the style fits the book extremely well, giving the reader exactly what they expect from the Archie-verse. Kelly Fitzpatrick demonstrates her, by now, excellent colouring skills showing again her versatility which has seen her work on a number of diverse books.
I have to confess, I am not a big Archie fan, That said, I have to recognise the quality of intent in this new iteration of these classic characters.
Writing – 3 Stars
Art – 3 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
Script: Tom DeFalco
Art: Sandy Jarrell, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Jack Morelli
Cover: Sandy Jarrell with Kelly Fitzpatrick