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Review: The Archies #2

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

Advance Review: The Archies #2

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

Review: Reggie and Me Trade TPB

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*Spoilers ahead for Reggie And Me and Archie #24*

Archie Comics’ mini-series featuring Riverdale’s bad boy Reggie Mantle is now available in trade paperback. Issues one through five of Reggie and Me put the spotlight on Reggie through the narration of his pet dog Vader. But without his canine companion, who keeps insisting Reggie is well-liked and kind-hearted, Reggie has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. He spends all five issues trying to get someone else in trouble for the chaos he creates–usually Archie Andrews. Over the course of this series however, he also manages to stir up the ire of not only Riverdale’s rival football team, but also thick-headed Moose Mason, and sweet-as-apple-pie Betty Cooper.

Of all the classic characters, Reggie seems to have gone through the most changes from the old to new Archie universe, but it’s not really for the better. He primarily used to play the role of Archie’s romantic rival, though once he had Veronica or Betty on his arm, he left well enough alone. In Reggie And Me, he has it out for everyone in a more general role of chaotic evil.

Reggie is after Midge, who is happily dating Moose. When Reggie swipes Archie’s phone, he sees an opportunity to simultaneously get Moose away from Midge and Archie into a cast (or two. Reggie ain’t picky). Enter Betty Cooper who apparently spends her entire life discreetly following Reggie around, waiting for him to do something horrible. Throw in a little school rivalry, a quarterback trying to protect his familial honor, and a Principal with a keen ear, and Reggie’s plans fall quickly apart.

Reggie’s existence frustrates nearly everyone in the main gang–not even Jughead has patience for him. However, once Vader is injured, the entire town rallies to support him. Archie forgets the fact that Reggie tried to have him expelled. Midge forgets that Reggie ignored her rejections. And Moose (who, to be fair, has never been the sharpest crayon) forgets everything and even comes to Reggie’s aid.

Perhaps the Reggie and Me miniseries is meant to garner support for its title character as his fate changes in the main Archie series. You may recall that the end of “Over the Edge” saw Reggie in handcuffs, with his father taking advantage of the situation in order to push more papers. But if that is the case, there’s still a long way to go. Arguably, Reggie is a more sympathetic character in just a few panels of Archie #24 than all of Reggie and Me combined.

Vader turns out fine, and despite all Reggie’s efforts, the whole gang winds up on each other’s good sides. Betty even apologizes for potentially misjudging him in their youth. And we end up right where we began, with a devious smirk on Reggie’s face and an aparent storm brewing in his chaotic brain.

So the question remains: why did Reggie get the spotlight? He has been a bully since day one, and while the new Archies are filling him out with a sympathetic backstory, that’s not an excuse for his mistreatment of others. Vader continually defends his owner’s horrible behavior, but the “pranks” he pulls have the potential for very real consequences.

The preview of Your Pal Archie was a palate cleanser at the end of this off-color book.  Especially in today’s political and social climate, Reggie And Me feels tone deaf, almost asking readers to consider that bullies are people too, instead of admonishing bully behavior under any circumstances.  If Archie writers are trying to redeem the long-held Mantle (if you’ll excuse the pun) of Riverdale’s bad boy, Reggie and Me is not a good place to start.

Story: Tom Defalco Artist: Sandy Jarrell Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick Letters: Jack Morell
Story: 4.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

Archie provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Advance Review: Your Pal Archie #2

YourPalArchie2.jpgYour Pal Archie #2 continues to tell retro style Archie stories that are equal parts weird, funny, and utterly mundane. In the first story, Ty Templeton, Dan Parent, and Andre Szymanowicz show what All-American ginger Archie Andrews does after winning 15 million dollars in the lottery while the second one focuses on Reggie Mantle, who is behaving a bit differently than his jerk-ish self. It’s a fun reading perfect for catching the last few rays of the summer by the pool or with a milkshake that will probably pale in comparison to one of Pop Tate’s.

Unlike his portrayal in Riverdale and to a lesser extent in the Archie reboot, Templeton writes Archie as morally exemplary in the lead story of Your Pal Archie #2. Unlike his supporting cast, including Principal Weatherbee and his parents, Archie doesn’t blow his big payday on a shiny new sports car or Les Paul, but buys everyone sodas at Pop’s and just wants to chill with his friends. He seems happier to sit at a booth with Jughead, Kevin, and Betty than to come into great wealth and definitely has his life priorities in order. However, Templeton and Parent give him just a bit of neurosis when it comes to his relationship with Veronica, which he is insecure about because he think she’s only dating The main story of Your Pal Archie #2 is mostly broad, wish fulfillment comedy, but it has some class consciousness to go with its slapstick, especially in Archie and Veronica’s interactions.

Ty Templeton and Dan Parent switch things up a little bit in the second story of Your Pal Archie #2 and have Reggie be the lead character of sorts as he bullies Dilton Doiley and makes everyone even the badass mohawk sporting Moose super angry at him.  I laughed out loud at Betty’s sass face when she tries to hit on him. Betty is super underutilized in the first two issues of Your Pal Archie, and I hope she has a showcase story down the road because Templeton writes her as both independent and having feelings for Archie.

Except for some hilarious events at the end of the story, Templeton’s plot seems truncated, but it’s just a part of Your Pal Archie‘s formula of a full length lead story and a shorter second story with a cliffhanger. It’s the ultimate win win situation because you get both a serialization and closure plus a throwback story to top things off. Plus Parent and Templeton’s art is cute as hell with super memorable faces.

In Your Pal Archie #2, Ty Templeton and Dan Parent go full wacky with plots centered around millions of dollars, gourmet dining with Veronica, and a strange football injury while grounding them in a redhead who just wants to hang out with his friends and eat hot dogs with ballpark mustard. And that’s why I love Archie and the company that bears his name.

Story: Ty Templeton Art: Dan Parent
Inks: Ty Templeton Colors: Andre Szymanowicz
Story: 7.7 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

 Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Archie #20

Archie20-MainCover-666x1024Right on the tail of Riverdale‘s season finale, Archie Comics keeps up their momentum with a fresh storyline in their “All-New” Archie comics. The series rebooted in early 2016, so another reboot so soon would be largely pointless. “Over the Edge” continues the story that kicked off in issue #1, but raises the stakes from will-they-won’t-they to life-or-death.

It’s clear that at least some of Riverdale‘s appeal has rubbed off on artist Pete Woods, as Archie spends several pages gratuitously shirtless while he and Betty work on his classic jalopy. Much like every other element preserved from the original comics, the jalopy gets a backstory and becomes more important to our characters than ever before. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the vilification of Reggie Mantle, Riverdale’s ultimate bad guy.

Even in his own mini-series, the final words on Reggie declare him the “prince of darkness”, and this time he’s back with an attempt to steal Archie’s car (and possibly his girl.) *Spoiler – Highlight the text to read* However, all his plans are derailed when Betty speeds in to stop the plot, and they crash into each other mid-race. “Over the Edge” truly begins when Betty and Reggie go careening off the side of Serpent Hill. The story concludes with a line-up of the possible casualties of the storyline: Archie (already marked “safe” after this issue), Jughead, Betty, Veronica, and Reggie. *End Spoiler*

Writer Mark Waid has boosted the Riverdale gang to a new level of sophistication, without losing any of their timeless appeal. This continues in “Over the Edge”, as Veronica name-checks clothing designers, Betty remains fiercely protective of her friends, Jughead drops by with a bag of half-eaten burgers and Archie himself trips his way through life both literally and metaphorically. Waid remains easily one of the best things to happen to Archie since the whole universe rebooted in his “All-New Archie #1”, and the now infamous Lipstick Incident.

Archie Comics has raised the stakes before, most notably with their “Death to Archie” storyline, as well as their duel “Married Life with Archie” stories. “Over the Edge” seems more like a classic Life with Archie story, where life or death is teased for the sake of temporary drama, although the repercussions will only cause a small ripple in the universe as we know it. “Over the Edge” kicks off a little slow, but should slam into high gear by part 2 or 3.

Story: Mark Waid Art: Pete Woods
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.0  Recommendation: Read

Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Meet Riverdale’s Reggie, Moose, and Dilton

The casting news continues to reveal new members of The CW‘s Riverdale gang based on the characters from the Archie Comics! Ross Butler will play Archie’s rival Reggie Mantle, Daniel Yang has been cast as the brilliant Dilton Doiley, and Cody Kearsley will be portraying Riverdale’s resident jock Moose Mason.

The news follows the casting of Archie (KJ Apa), Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), Josie (Ashleigh Murray), Fred Andrews (Luke Perry), Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick), and Hermione Lodge (Marisol Nichols).

The one-hour drama will be written by Archie Comics Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and produced by Warner Brothers Studios and Berlanti Productions. Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schecter, Jon Goldwater, and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa serve as executive producers.

The live-action series offers a bold, subversive take on Archie, Betty, Veronica, and their friends, exploring small-town life and the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade. The show will focus on the eternal love triangle of Archie Andrews, girl-next-door Betty Cooper, and rich socialite Veronica Lodge, and will include the entire cast of characters from the comic books—including Archie’s rival, Reggie Mantle, and his slacker best friend, Jughead Jones.