Tuesday, May 30, 2023

#IReadsYou Review: ARCHIE & FRIENDS All-Action #1


STORY: Daniel Kibblesmith; Bill Golliher; Rich Margopoulos
PENCILS: Ryan Jampole; Pat & Tim Kennedy; Rex Lindsey
INKS: Ryan Jampole; Bob Smith; Rex Lindsey
COLORS: Glenn Whitmore; Rosario “Tito” Peña; Barry Grossman
LETTERS: Jack Morelli; Bill Yoshida
EDITORS: Jamie Lee Rotante; Vincent Lovallo; Stephen Oswald
EiC: Mike Pellerito
COVER: Ryan Jampole with Rosario “Tito” Peña
32pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (May 2023); on sale in comic book shops April 5, 2023

Rating: All-Ages

Archie and the Gang in “Super Mecha Teens”

Eternal high school student and teenage boy, Archie Andrews, and his friends made their debut in M.L.J. Magazines' Pep Comics #22 (cover dated: December 1941), and before long, Archie was the publisher's headliner character.  In 1946, the company changed its named to Archie Comic Publications, also known as “Archie Comics.”

Archie Comics frequently publishes themed one-shot comic books featuring Archie's characters (sometimes referred to as “the Archie Gang”).  The latest, the fifteenth in the series, is Archie & Friends All-Action No.1.  It features one new story and two reprint stories.  Entitled “Super Mecha Teens,” the new story is written by Daniel Kibblesmith; drawn by Ryan Jampole; colored by Glenn Whitmore; and lettered by the great Jack Morelli.

Archie and the Gang in “Super Mecha Teens”:
The story opens in the near future at “The Weather Station,” the nerve center for the “Super Mecha Teen Project.”  Neo Riverdale is protected by “mechas.”  Each mecha is a giant robot controlled by two co-pilots whose minds are joined by a mental or neural link.  Cadet Archie Andrews is the project's newest cadet, and he is “universal co-pilot,” which means he has “perfect neural compatibility.”  Archie can be anyone's co-pilot.

But even future Archie is trapped in the eternal choice between Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge.  Still, he is needed inside a mecha for battle.  Will it be Betty's mecha or Veronica's.  And if Cadet Andrews doesn't make a decision soon, Neo Riverdale is doomed.  If he can't pick his best girl, can he pick his best pal?

THE LOWDOWN:   I have been reading comic books, on and off, for the better part of five decades.  I have sporadically read Archie Comics titles over that time, and I have always enjoyed what I read.

Recently, Archie Comics has been introducing new characters via five-page stories.  “Super Mecha Teens” offers what seems like a new series with familiar characters in a new-for-them setting.  So will there be more “Super Mecha Teens?”  It would be nice, as it is an intriguing concept.

Writer Daniel Kibblesmith teases what could be a cool children's action comic book, one that would retain the eternal Archie Comics' love triangle:  Archie, Betty, and Veronica.  Ryan Jampole's art is pitch perfect for the concept.  So, yes, there is potential here.  Time will tell if we get more...

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of classic-style Archie Comics will want to find a copy of Archie & Friends All-Action No.1.

★★★½ out of 4 stars

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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