Wednesday, February 14, 2024

#IReadsYou Review: CHILLING ADVENTURES PRESENTS... Welcome to Riverdale #1


STORY: Amy Chase
ART: Liana Kangas
COLORS: Ellie Wright
LETTERS: Jack Morelli
EDITORS: Jamie Lee Rotante
EiC: Mike Pellerito
COVER: Liana Kangas
VARIANT COVER ARTIST: Marguerite Sauvage
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (December 2023); on sale in comic book shops October 11, 2023

Rating: Teen+

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.”

But Archie Comics has a dark side, as seen in the imprint “Archie Horror,” which has been around for a decade.  Part of the Archie Horror imprint is a series of one-shot comic books under the title Chilling Adventures Presents...  The latest is Welcome to Riverdale No. 1.  It is written by Amy Chase; drawn by Liana Kangas; colored by Ellie Wright; and lettered by Jack MorelliRiverdale, the hometown of Archie and its pals, is the creepy setting for this new tale.

Chilling Adventures Presents...  Welcome to Riverdale No. 1 opens as fun-loving teen, Ginger Snapp, arrives in Riverdale at the invitation of her friend, Nancy Woods.  Living in Hilldale, Ginger has read a lot about Riverdale, but she is still amazed by how wholesome and welcoming the town truly is.  But the overwhelming happiness and endless smiles do feel a bit uncanny, and meeting Riverdale's Mayor Glibb does not help Ginger shake her feelings of unease.

How can everyone in Riverdale be so nice and kind?  Well, there is a dark secret to Riverdale, and it is dark enough to earn the term “toxic positivity.”

THE LOWDOWN:   I have been reading comic books, on and off, for decades.  I have sporadically read Archie Comics titles over that time, including some Archie Horror titles, especially Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.  Over the last few years, Archie's marketing department has been sending PDF copies of some of their titles for review.  Welcome to Riverdale No. 1 is the latest.

Welcome to Riverdale No. 1 is a really good, but not great one-shot, but I do think it could be the beginning of something great if the story continues in the future.  For those of you who don't know, Ginger Snapp was a 1950s Archie Comics character that had her own book and was meant to be a female Archie Andrews-type.  Apparently, the publisher's hope was that the book, entitled Ginger, would replicate the success of the flagship Archie title.  Ginger ran for ten issues from 1951 to 1954.

Amy Chase's story for Welcome to Riverdale No. 1 is intriguing and is an engaging read.  However, the storytelling by artist Liana Kangas is a bit muddled in several places; it is as if she is trying to use surreal elements to give the story more depth.  It isn't so much a question of style as it is execution, and the Ellie Wright's coloring – uninspired as it seems – doesn't help.  None of this is bad work; as I said, it is intriguing, and it certainly has potential.

So, there is something to build upon in Welcome to Riverdale No. 1 – if someone is willing to put more thought behind it.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Archie Comics' “Archie Horror” imprint will want Welcome to Riverdale No. 1.

[This comic book includes a two-page section on the making of Welcome to Riverdale No. 1.]

★★★ out of 4 stars

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

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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