Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I Reads You Review: ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR #1

DARK HORSE COMICS in association with Archie Comics – @DarkHorseComics and @ArchieComics

WRITER: Alex de Campi
PENCILS: Fernando Ruiz
INKS: Rich Koslowski
COLORS: Jason Millet
LETTERS: John Workman
COVER:  Fernando Ruiz and Rich Koslowski with Jason Millet
VARIANT COVERS: Eric Powell; Francesco Francavilla
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (April 2015)

Eternal comic book teenager, Archie Andrews, was created in 1941 by Vic Bloom and Bob Montana and first appeared in Pep Comics #22 (cover date: December 1941).  The Predator is a movie monster that was created by the sibling screenwriting team of Jim and John Thomas in 1985 and that first appeared in the still-popular, 1987 science fiction film, Predator.

Now, Dark Horse Comics, in conjunction with Archie Comics, is pitting Archie Andrews and his friends against the Predator in the four-issue comic book miniseries, Archie vs. Predator.  The series is written by Alex de Campi, penciled by Fernando Ruiz, inked by Rich Koslowski, colored by Jason Millet, and lettered by one of the masters of comic book lettering, John Workman.

Archie vs. Predator #1 (“When You Wish Upon a Star”) opens with America's favorite teen, Archie, and his pals, including Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Jughead, and Moose, trying to decide where they can spend Spring Break.  They don't want to spend another Spring Break camping, tubing, or shopping at the outlet mall.  Of course, the wealthy Cheryl and her boyfriend, Jason, are rubbing it in that they will spend the vacation yachting in the Caribbean.

As luck (or fate) would have it, the gang does manage to travel to the lovely Los Perdidos Resort in Costa Rica.  However, instead of enjoying fun in the sun, Archie and the Gang allow old rivalries, jealousy, and violence to take over their Spring Break.  Meanwhile, something dangerous hides in the nearby jungle, watching and waiting.

It has been some time since I have enjoyed an Archie comic book as much as I enjoyed Archie vs. Predator #1.  For the most part, the Predator is a background player in this first issue.  What makes this such a good Archie comic book is that writer Alex de Campi encapsulates eight decades of rivalries, jealousies, and disputes into 22-pages.  The charm of Archie and company is not just that they are friends; it is also about their conflicts and schemes, although I must admit to being surprised at the physical intensity and emotional distress de Campi depicts in this story.

The art team of Fernando Ruiz, Rich Koslowski (an Archie Comics writer-artist), and Jason Millet capture the classic Archie look, which is based on the work of the late Dan DeCarlo, probably the most influential Archie Comics artist of all time.  Archie vs. Predator #1 looks like an Archie comic book and graphically, it reads like one.

I am waiting for the Predator's presence to explode in this story, probably next issue.  For now, I implore anyone who has ever liked an Archie comic book to try the first issue of Archie vs. Predator.


[This volume includes a one-age bonus story, “Sabrina Meets Hellboy” by Alex de Campi, Robert Hack, and Clem Robins.]

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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