Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'Archie' #5 by Mark Waid, Veronica Fish, Andre Szymanowicz and Jen Vaughn


★★★★ (5/5)

Who do you turn to when desperate situations call for desperate measures? If you're Betty Cooper and Jughead Jones your only option is the shadiest character in Riverdale - Reggie Mantle. Archie is still under Veronica's spell and his friends have to enlist some help to pry him away. Mark Waid continues to shine with this modern update that pays homage as well as offering new layers to some familiar characters. Veronica Fish takes over the art duties and immediately shows why she belongs on this flagship series. 

Waid has the ability to flesh out the personalities beyond the labels they've carried for decades. Archie is much more than a loser, in fact he's self-aware and recognizes his friends' plans to interfere in his relationship with Veronica. Veronica can be viewed as the villain, rich and spoiled, but Waid occasionally allows her to let down her guard and expose her vulnerabilities, trying to fit in. It makes scenes like her dancing with Archie the more rewarding knowing that she appreciates his company and she's not just using him. Equally impactful are the reactions from Betty and Jughead seeing them together that perhaps there's more to Veronica than they've been willing to admit. Betty's melancholy resonates in her face, an example of Fish's ability to convey emotion with a single look or posture. 

Reggie is just the right kind of conniver to help plan to separate Archie and Veronica but he's not as slick as he thinks he is. Waid could have played up his cooler-than-cool persona straight but as with other characters he lets some humility peek through. It's these type of character arcs within an issue that makes the new Archie more character-driven than plot driven. There are shades of gray to everyone and their interactions feel authentic and sweet but still as fun as ever. Taking a classic title with well-established characters is no easy task but Waid has masterfully made the Riverdale gang as engaging and appealing as ever. 

As for Fish, following Fiona Staples and Annie Wu is no small task either. Fans need not worry because the smart people at Archie Comics just found the next great artist in Fish. It's hard not to compare her work to Staples but Fish does some wonderful line work and designs that fall in the same league with the award-winning artist. Andre Szymanowicz and Jen Vaughn infuse the panels with amazing color choices with deliberately thoughtful and varied shades. How they make the wardrobe pop is especially inspired and modern. 

When I started this review I thought the issue was good but after going through the pages and reexamining the scenes and the interactions between the characters I may have been a little too conservative. The thoughtful approach to writing these teens is nothing short of endearing and the updated look remains extraordinary. 'Archie' #5 is one of the best issues of the run so far and if Waid and Fish can remain a duo for a while it could very well be one of the best collaborations in comics. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fred Van Lente & CAFU Decode ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1

Valiant announces ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1 – a hard-charging, standalone special coming this winter from New York Times best-selling writer Fred Van Lente (ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, Incredible Hercules) and red-hot rising star CAFU (RAPTURE)! On February 7th, join in a riotous celebration for the ages as Armstrong, for the very first time, uncorks the ancient mysteries of his centuries past – and dares his closest comrades into the adventure of several lifetimes!

Deep beneath New York City’s seediest dive bar, Armstrong – the hard-hitting, harder-partying immortal veteran of history’s greatest escapades – is hosting an invitation-only affair for his most beloved friends and allies! Archer… Ivar, Timewalker… Faith… Quantum and Woody… And special guests from across the Valiant Universe… All have been offered a seat at the table for a personally guided tour of Armstrong’s most valuable and tightly guarded treasure… From the Great Flood to ancient Greece to the height of the C…

REVIEW: 'Bonehead' #2 by Bryan Edward Hill, Rhoald Marcellius, and Sakti Yuwono

Bryan Hill pumps the brakes a little in the follow up to the fast-paced debut of 'Bonehead' with more great world building. The mystery surrounding Bonehead 56 deepens but we at least get some backstory and details about what his arrival means for a pair of brothers with opposing viewpoints.


BONEHEAD #2   
Writer: Bryan Edward Hill Artist: Rhoald Marcellius, Sakti Yuwono Letterer: Jaka Ady Graphics: Comolo Editor: Elena Salcedo Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: January 31, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score:★★★★☆ (4/5)
After a thrilling video game-like first issue, issue two gives way to the brothers Kray. Aleph is a tech scientist examining the unconscious "56" and marveling at his abilities. He reminds him when his brother Hideki roamed the city as the vigilante Blackdeath. Hideki is a Gladiator (cop) now and he questions Aleph's methods with 56 and its legalities. Nonetheless, they need 56 to be free on the streets for now so they can monitor him. The brothers c…

REVIEW: 'Hit-Girl' #1 by Mark Millar and Ricardo Lopez Ortiz

Hit-Girl is most certainly back and as deadly and crazy as ever. She's gone international looking to fight injustice and find a worthy sidekick. Mark Millar is in top form with help from artists Ricardo Lopez Ortiz and Sunny Gho. The heart of the Kick-Ass legacy lives on as bloody and as thrilling as you remember.


HIT-GIRL #1
Writer: Mark Millar Artist: Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, Sunny Gho Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: February 21, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★★ (5/5)
The retirement of Dave Lizewki as the original Kick-Ass has left a void in Mindy's crime-fighting life. Trying to recruit his replacement has been challenging to say the least. She's going to go it alone and taking her skills global as a cry for help leads her to Colombia.

Millar hits the floor running with a wild prison break, Mindy parting ways with an unworthy partner, and a grieving mother looking for justice. The sudden blitz back to the world of Kick-Ass is like comfort food for comic book fans. …

NEW COMIC BOOK DAY: Notable Releases 2/7/18

What a week in comics! There are so many great books out this week that I couldn't include them all on this list. Take a look at this killer's row of shiny new comics.



(W) Sean Murphy (A/CA) Sean Murphy
Jack's mind and body begin to betray him as he prepares for an inevitable showdown with Batman, and Bruce himself struggles to keep his team united. As the game gets tougher, Batman seeks counsel from a shocking source-and after Wayne Manor is infiltrated, a car chase for the ages aims to curb Napier's supercriminal crew once and for all.


(W) Paul Dini, James Robinson, Jeff Lemire, Steve Orlando, Mark Russell, Kyle Higgins, Alisa Kwitney, Phil Hester (A) Guillem March, Frazer Irving (A/CA) Kelley Jones
It's hard being a monster... and even harder being a monster in love. Sparks will fly and hearts will be broken when the ghouls and ghosts of the DC Universe assemble to bring you the Valentine's Day Special that no one saw coming!


(W) Tom King, Len Wein (A) Kell…

ADVANCE PREVIEW: 'BLACK [AF]: America's Sweetheart' by Kwanza Osajyefo and Jennifer Johnson

Can a black woman be America's first superhero?


Eli Franklin is a 15-year-old girl living in rural Montana--and she just happens to be the most powerful person on the planet.

In the aftermath of the world learning that only black people have superpowers, Eli makes her debut as the superhero Good Girl, on a mission to help people and quell the fear of empowered blacks.

When a super-terrorist threatens to take away everything Eli has worked toward, will donning a patriotic costume be enough for her to find acceptance?

America's Sweetheart expands BLACK into a universe of heroes.

BLACK [AF]: America's Sweetheart
Written by Kwanza Osajyefo (BLACK) and illustrated by next breakout artist Jennifer Johnson. With a gorgeous cover by Sho Murase. Letterer: David Sharpe
Designer: Tim Smith 3
Editor: Sarah Litt
Published by Black Mask Studios

Based on characters created by Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3 from the world established in BLACK, the breakout comic book series by Osajyefo and Smith, …