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ADVANCE REVIEW: Archie #1

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by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Andre Szymanowicz, with Jen Vaughn and Jack Morelli

A lot of things from the past seem to be resurfacing this year. It’s fantastic. Things people enjoyed as kids are making a comeback, and most people seem to really be loving it. Archie is one of the things coming back into the spotlight this year, which is fantastic because it’s been a part of people’s childhoods since the forties–that’s kind of a big deal. This book has been highly anticipated by a lot of people (how could it not be with the dream team of Mark Waid and Fiona Staples?) and it certainly does not disappoint!

Archie and his friends, of course, have a whole new look – it seems like most people don’t usually like change, but with Fiona Staples as the artist on this book, it’s doubtful that anyone is going to mind a bit of an update! They’re more modern in general, and their general appearances are different (in the best way possible, of course). But don’t worry, the classic feel of the main characters is still there, from Archie’s red hair to Jughead’s crown to Betty’s tomboyish appearance. There is more variety in the background characters than there ever was before – everyone has their own personality. The gang still looks like they’re supposed to look, so the update is absolutely perfect.

There’s a classic feel to the whole thing overall – the story and the art – yet it still feels like something new. Some of the panels are very reminiscent of things long-time Archie fans may have seen before (one panel involving silhouettes in particular stands out as something very “classic Archie“), or something similar anyway. The layouts, styles, and the story in general just feel like something that could have been done before, in a good way, of course. It’s hanging onto its roots, but still presenting itself as something new, and it blends together with absolute perfection. This first issue is not so modern as to have too many current references in it, or anything like that – it sort of has just enough of those. The story is one that could just as easily have taken place a handful of decades ago, which is probably exactly what everyone wanted to see from this book – a story that an Archie fan from any decade could have read. Just change a few of the characters’ outfits, take away the modern technology some of them have in their hands, and tweak some of the dialogue, and it could have taken place any time. Someone who grew up on Archie in any decade could read this book and not be at all disappointed.

It’s a whole new start to the Archie franchise, essentially. Everyone knows the basic back story of Archie, but if for whatever reason someone doesn’t, or maybe your kids want to give it a try, it’s a fresh start and anyone is going to be able to pick this up, read it, and enjoy it.

Mark Waid’s story is fantastic and Fiona Staples’ line work, along with Andre Szymanowicz and Jen Vaughn’s colouring, seems like it could never be anything but – every single panel is absolutely perfect and the way she’s drawn the characters is ideal. No one could have done a better job. Jughead in particular looks just right. His facial expressions (along with everyone else’s) are more than a person could ever ask for from a comic book. Her style is perfect, the colors are perfect, and everything is just as it should be. There is not a single bad thing anyone could say about her art in general, and definitely not about this book.

People have been eagerly anticipating this book forever, it seems, and when something is that hyped up it can easily go either way; it can be everything fans dreamed it would be or it can end up thoroughly disappointing. But Mark Waid and Fiona Staples definitely do not disappoint. The first issue was worth all the anticipation, and worth the wait. It’s something any Archie fan is going to absolutely love, and probably even something that’s going to create new Archie fans. Everything is just right; the art is fantastic, the story is Archie perfection, and it seems as though it’s going to stay just as good.

It’s going to be just as hard to wait for the second issue as it was to wait for the first!

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