Comic Heroes - - Comics We Rate - Will Salmon

Re­viewed: Is­sues 1-2

Writer: Mark Waid

Artist: Fiona Sta­ples

Pub­lisher: Archie Comics

For­mat: On­go­ing You know Archie Andrews. You know his cheery de­meanour, his cast of pals and his com­pli­cated love life. His comic was as Amer­i­can as ap­ple pie and just as old-fash­ioned.

Turns out, you know noth­ing and ev­ery­thing. This re­boot proves two things: there is still life in the old char­ac­ters, and the things that made them en­dur­ing were there from the be­gin­ning.

Wel­come to Riverdale, as Arch him­self says in the very first panel. Only this is Riverdale for the Com­mu­nity gen­er­a­tion. It’s witty, en­er­getic, and rather more clued up on its gen­der pol­i­tics than be­fore. Thanks to some amus­ing fourth wall break­ing, it’s also not un­like a gen­tler, more chaste Sex Crim­i­nals.

The gang are all here. There’s Betty, smartly re­cast as Archie’s ex; stoner food-ob­sessed best pal Jug­head, rather can­nier than be­fore; and a num­ber of newer faces. There’s no Veron­ica yet, but her ar­rival is al­ready be­ing set in mo­tion.

Sta­ples’ art is as sharp and lively as Waid’s script and things move along at a brisk pace. But the most im­pres­sive thing about Archie is how re­fresh­ingly unironic it is. It’s wide-eyed and joy­ful and finds value in its char­ac­ters. With char­ac­ters this solid, there’s no need for daft crossovers with the likes of the Pu­n­isher. A glo­ri­ous rein­ven­tion.

Look­ing bet­ter than ever for a 75-year-old.

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