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.