“Hi, my name is Archie Andrews. Welcome to Riverdale”.
So begins the first issue of “Archie“, a new series following on the heels of the ending of last year’s “Life With Archie” series.
If anyone follows any kind of news, you’d know that Archie was effectively killed off at the end of “Life With Archie“, shot by a man who was attempting to kill his friend Kevin Keller. So, how do you follow up on a major death? A reboot, of course!
Right from the very first page, Archie looks very different. He looks human. Gone are the strange cross-hatch markings in his hair (or, as young people call them “hashtags”), the round face, the buck teeth. Now Archie sports a fauxhawk, his face a bit slender, his chin angular with a little bit of the lantern jaw happening.
Of course, it goes without saying that Archie is not the only character who has changed. Every character gets a makeover here. Jughead keeps his signature crown, but now seems to sport some sort of unexplained scar on his right cheek. Betty looks like a typical, blonde-haired high school girl, like Archie she loses the round face in favour of a more angular one. Reggie actually looks threatening, and not in a typical school bully way. It’s an interesting visual route, that for sure.
As the story begins, Archie and Betty have just broken up. There is no proper reason given aside from the mention of a “Lipstick Incident”. Both Betty and Archie have their own reasons for going their separate ways, but the only person who actually knows what happened is Jughead, and he’s not talking. What follows is the attempts by everyone in the school to get Archie and Betty back together.
I think the most interesting thing about the book is the storytelling style. The entire story is told almost like a YouTube vlog with Archie as narrator, only with it cutting away every so often to show what other characters are thinking. In fact, the comparison to a vlog goes right to the very end where Archie breaks the fourth wall to invite the audience to follow him on Twitter. I think I like this approach, as the intent is obviously to get people talking about the story and this vague mystery behind what happened between Archie and Betty.
It would be a good time to note that the story, while about Archie and narrated by him, is actually seen from the point of view of his classmates. The breaking of the fourth wall effectively makes the reader one of the many school kids roaming the halls of Riverdale. It’s a very cool idea that is used quite well.
In the end, I think I’m going to like this series. There are already a lot of good ideas being flung around, I really want to see where it goes. Archie’s back, folks.