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First things first, this isn’t really a review. At least, not in my usually mold. As an avid Archie fan from childhood, there just needs to be something that goes farther than your traditional review. By the end of this I don’t expect to sway the reader one way or the other, or give points, but really just make sense of it in the view of an old fan, and not the newcomers that it’s trying to draw. To facilitate this, I made up some points of what stood out most.
Throughout the issue there are a trio of characters who seem to only be there to comment on the plot before and during the events of the issue. I thought that it was a rather interesting thing to do. It not only catches up newcomers to the foundation at hand, but also is sprouted from the idea of high school gossip. If there’s anything that is ubiquitously known about high school, it’s the harping rumor geeks. The main problem is – it comes off as cloying and annoying as possible.
To be fair, that’s how much it is in reality – but the intensity of the enthusiasm and prying into Archie and Betty’s business makes it unbearable. Even though this is just a normal sized comic issue and not a digest, their presence really did make everything seem drawn out, and not in a good way. While I don’t think that the aspect should be taken out, it should be downplayed. The three characters involved seem more caricaturish than fellow members of the gang.
Another nice wink at teen culture was most assuredly the breaking of the fourth wall. As you might have already known, I see it (and it most blatantly is) a Ferris Bueller homage. The sly playfulness about the whole affair. It set the tone as something not to really take the issue seriously. Something light, and something with a real carefree air to it. Carefree being the key word. It’s actually a gimmick that plays on preconceived notions about Archie.
It’s seen as a stuffy series. An old-fashioned comic. Even something so relentlessly 80’s is going to turn some heads. It’s a shock, but one that really helps to get people to realize that this isn’t going to be your regular Archie. The main challenge is whether Mark Waid will be able to add the kineticism that is all-too required which will make it seem less forced. While I won’t make it a whole point on its own, the hashtags at the end were such a joke.
What sticks out the most is how the “Gang” is utilized in this issue. Outside the harping hanger-ons, which include luminaries such as Kevin Keller, there doesn’t really seem to be a good spotlight on them. What this issue conveys is that the spotlight is Archie and Archie foremost. Understandable, but the series is really well known as an ensemble piece. Yet, we get a brief glimpse of Dilton, and then a small brushing off of Reggie.
Of course, it’s not reasonable to expect all of this in the first issue, but the pacing and everything else that counted for story content sets a worrisome precedent in terms of where time will be allotted. That’s something that I want to see expanded in future issues, and not for the whole “setting up the classic status quo” they’re doing with Veronica right now. It needs to hit the high gear and then finally get to telling stories about Riverdale.
These were just some small thoughts about the issue and how it speaks to an older fan. Newcomers and other fans alike have already displayed a massive swell of acceptance, so they must have done something right. It reeks of teenage films, of the classic mold, and it plays it well from first glances. There’s really nothing much else to ask for. Comments and opinions would be appreciated below.