Between Marvel’s Star Wars books: Star Wars, Darth Vader and the Lando mini-series, the steady consistency of Larry Hama’s G.I. Joe and the greatness that is Secret Wars, there’s starting to be some major competition for the last (and most anticipated) comic I read in my monthly pile.
Thanks to the recommendation of the gang at Third Eye Comics, a new entry is quickly putting in its bid for bottom of the pile reading — the fantastic Archie reboot by writer Mark Waid and artist Fiona Staples (“Saga”).
Archie was one of those gateway comics for me thanks to the grocery store digest editions and this new series looks to be a perfect introduction to a new generation of future lifelong comic readers and Archie fans.
Waid captures the modern teen voice without coming across like a hopelessly out of touch old fogey trying to write “kewl” and “hip” slang. That means thankfully the characters aren’t sounding like they’re straight out of Twitter and there’s a welcome shortage of “LOLs” “OMGs” and “ROFL.”
The first two issues are just as upbeat and fun as you remember. In an all-too frequent violent and cynical comic book age, the lighthearted mood makes the issues a refreshing change of pace read.
Best of all, Waid and Staples maintain the charm and spirit of the long-running comic without dumbing it down or modernizing Archie and his supporting cast to the point they’re unlikeable TMZ headline feature jerks.
That’s the biggest accomplishment here. Longtime fans will feel right at home reading this updated take without feeling like it’s a complete betrayal of the characters they’ve read for years.
Archie’s still a bit of a klutz, Jughead is smarter than everyone realizes, Reggie’s got a terrible reputation and Betty is the perfect tomboy/girlfriend/best friend with a knack for car repair.
For a new take on the Archie universe, Waid doesn’t treat it like an origin. Characters already have had extensive histories with each other, which helps the series hit the ground running.
Archie frequently breaks the fourth wall to explain his predicament and occasionally provide some background on characters. That direct reader interaction is a natural fit for Archie, who makes for an engaging, likeable lead character.
Longtime favorites like Reggie, Dilton, Moose and newcomers like Trev Smith and Kevin Keller are around and their characterizations are spot on. Vanessa Lodge made her debut in Issue #2, which arrived on comic stores Wednesday, and I’m already looking forward to the follow-up next issue.
I can’t recommend this series enough. If you’ve ever enjoyed an Archie book this reboot is quickly going to become one of your new comic book addictions.
And how awesome was this?