If The Archies #1 was the band’s origin story, The Archies #2 is all about life on the road, and writers Matthew Rosenberg and Alex Segura, artist Joe Eisma, and colorist Matt Herms nail the intrinsic drama filled dynamic of The Archies in the issue’s title page. Archie is driving the van and narrating at the audience, Betty is actually doing the work and looking under the hood, Jughead and Reggie are arguing, and Veronica is on her phone. One image, and we get the band’s dynamic that Rosenberg, Segura, and Eisma play off for the rest of the issue as the journey to The Archies’ first gig isn’t a smooth one.
However, like classic Archie comics, The Archies #2 is pure wish fulfillment albeit with stylish art and classy colors from Eisma and Herms and some references to cool bands and artists like Father John Misty. And honestly, it was kind of be boring if Veronica’s dad bailed them out all the time and gave a band that should be sleeping in their van or scrimping to get a fleabag hotel, five star accommodations. Rosenberg and Segura spend the whole first half of the comic milking the dramatic potential of five teenage frenemies sharing close quarters after kicking it MTV Cribs style in a double page spread of them enjoying the fruits of Mr. Lodge’s AmEx. But Rosenberg, Segura, and Eisma are wise to not have them experience too much fame too quickly even though they coincidentally keep getting breaks because this is truly a fantasy comic. It’s the pop rock daydreams of you and your friends and maybe that guy you hate on bass starting a band, playing dive bars, and getting famous somehow.
In The Archies #2, Joe Eisma goes for more silly physical comedy with his artwork than the immaculate style and melodrama of his work on Archie with Mark Waid. However, Veronica still has a fantastic wardrobe, and there’s an entire panel dedicated to her picking out an outfit for the gig. But Eisma gets smiles and giggles from the Archies just reacting to the brave new world around them like a super tired Betty rubbing her eyes after practically willing their fan to get to New Jersey, or Veronica practically exploding Then, there’s Reggie strutting and preening in the mirror and wearing a Blur shirt that I seriously need. (Although I pegged Reggie as more of a Liam Gallagher fan.)
The plot of The Archies #2 is a fairly standard young band’s rise to glory story, but Joe Eisma’s gesture cartooning and Herms’ flashes of colors give each band member a fun, quirky personality. Also, it definitely feels like that this comic was made with love for indie music and bands out there living the struggle so The Archies #2 is a book you can give to your grandma, who grew up chuckling at the Archie comics back in the day or to your hipster friends, who might smirk at it and then longingly remember when they though they could be the next post-synth-indie-dream pop sensation. (That’s my not so professional approximation of The Archies’ sound.)
Story: Matthew Rosenberg and Alex Segura Art: Joe Eisma Colors: Matt Herms
Story: 8.2 Art: 9 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy
Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review