August 19, 2015 – This Wednesday sees the release of Archie issue 2. Last month What’cha Reading received an advance copy and editor Chuck had given it a read along with sharing with his daughter. They liked the book and he wrote “Mark [Waid] has found that “likeable kid” formula that makes a comic (or tv show for that matter) work. Couple that with Fiona’s [Staples] art and I think we have a series that will find an audience.” With issue 2 we get another well written and beautifully appealing issue in the reboot for Archie and his friends at Riverdale. After an iconic 75 years in comic books, the reboot of Archie comics is not unexpected and it’s a whole lot more inviting to those that haven’t read than to those that have.
Editor Chuck “a superhero guy most of his life” has said “Archie just never caught my imagination.” Whereas Archie Andrews adventures never caught his attention, I’ve always like Archie and admired its place within the comic world. It’s a purely American comic book and had admirably been a part of the comic community for nearly as long as Superman and Batman. Despite not having any powers or super villains with the exception of rival/nemesis Reggie Mantle III (my favorite Archie character), Archie’s world is a lot more relatable than many would expect. With this new series being crafted by Mark Waid, the writer behind the masterpiece Superman Birthright (my favorite Superman book), Archie and Riverdale are in good hands. He’s managed to create a unique series that stays true to the spirit of who these characters are while updating them with more modern sensibilities.
Archie issue 2 is broken into four chapters and features Archie, Jughead, Betty, and a sly introduction to Veronica that brings to mind the great silver age introductions of now famous characters. Those familiar with the previous Archie comics will recognize the subtle homages with chapter titles. Other than that, Mark Waid has created another fun story with reinterpreted and fully realized versions of Riverdale’s most beloved residents. We see Archie Andrews as a reliably aloof and bumbling youngster with an eye for beautiful women and a penchant for breaking the fourth wall. It’s more Malcolm in the Middle than Deadpool and there’s a lot of charm within each panel. Fiona Staples, a young artist with an incredible following, delivers a cute and instantly appealing series that modernizes Archie and friends. The overall look and aesthetic seems like the perfect material to serve as The CW’s contextual and style inspiration for the upcoming series Riverdale.
One of the strongest aspects of Mark Waid’s script is how he develops characters such as Forsythe P. Jones III a.k.a. Jughead and Betty. Jughead is essentially the Robert Downey Jr of the 80’s teen movies such as Back to School and Tuff Turf. He delivers one of the best lines in the issue and it serves as one of the main reasons that everyone, young and old, should read Mark Waid and Fiona Staples series:
“If you’re going to survive in this world, here’s what you need to know: You are who you are, not what people think you are. Be straight. Be weird. Be whatever. Just be what you wanna be.”
With Mark Waid’s reinterpretation of Jughead, he becomes the character you’re most interested in because, well, he’s a bit of a rogue-ish enigma. It’s no wonder he’s getting his own solo series by Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson. If Jughead is any indication of a character getting a spin-off out of this new series, I would not be surprised if we get a Betty solo-series as well. She’s Archie’s “best mechanic” with knowledge of cars, maintenance, and video games. Mark Waid’s Betty immediately becomes the readers comic book crush and gives Veronica a run for her money. (Veronica has yet to fully appear and is only seen in four panels.) She’s tough, full of spunk, and she’s featured in a chapter focused primarily on her – “Chapter Two: One Of The Guys.” There’s a scene that finds Betty alone with a boy in her room. Trevor tries to kiss her and it’s suggested in a subtle way that he wants to take their relationship “to the next level”, but Betty pushes him away. It’s a mature scene, but it plays out well under Mark Waid’s script and Fiona Staples art work.
Archie issue 2 is a great title and comic issue to pick up this week. Mark Waid and Fiona Staples have filled their series with humor, heart, and an energy needed to reinvigorate an icon. We at What’cha Reading have quickly fallen in love with the direction Archie Comics and Dark Circle Comics have taken. Their titles, Archie, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, and The Fox are just a few of the titles worth reading. But, in the meantime, while you head out to your local comic shop, please pick up Archie issue 2.
Archie issue 2 is out now and gets five stars.