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

NYCC: Dynamite's Next 25-Cent Revival is 'Dejah Thoris' with Amy Chu

The Princess of Mars is set to return to her throne this January, as Dynamite Entertainment announces the relaunch of one of their most beloved characters, Dejah Thoris. Writer Amy Chu (Poison Ivy, Red Sonja, KISS) will bring the strong, iconic character back to the comics in the debut issue Dejah Thoris #0, which will retail for 25 cents and allow fans to join the adventure at this introductory price.


This replicates the outstanding debut of Sheena #0, which broke 120,000 sales. Retailers can confidently stock their shelves with extra copies of this red-hot new series.

This exciting prequel to Edgar Rice Burroughs' beloved book, A Princess of Mars, will delve into the untold story of the classic Red Martian princess!  After learning of the legendary Gardens of Mars from her grandfather, Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, sets off on a dangerous scientific expedition to save her dying planet. But things don't go the way she planned when she encounters a mysterious Green Martian…

PREVIEW: 'Sovereigns' #5 by Ray Fawkes and Dylan Burnett

This is it!  All your questions will be answered, all the mysteries revealed!  What has obliterated humanity?  What the hell happened to the moon?  What is the true nature of the Hidden Jungle?  Why do the heroes you know and love—Turok, Magnus and Doctor Spektor—seem like completely different people?  And perhaps most importantly, how will the world be saved, and at what cost?



DOCTOR SPEKTOR PART 6: The story of the all-new master (and we use the term lightly) sorcerer continues... when Doc gets drunk & summons a demon – and good decision-making ensues!
Sovereigns #5
writers: Ray Fawkes (main),        Aubrey Sitterson (Doctor Spektor) artists: Johnny Desjardins (main),              Dylan Burnett (Doctor Spektor) covers: Stephen Segovia (A)               Johnny Desjardins (B)               Fred Hembeck (C)               Kenan Yarar (D)               Stephen Segovia (RI-B/W) FC  •  32 pages  •  $3.99  •  Teen +











REVIEW: 'Witchblade' #1 by Caitlin Kittredge, Roberta Ingranata, and Bryan Valenza

The next iteration of Witchblade has arrived and Top Cow has assembled another great creative team to bring the legendary wielder of the powerful artifact to life.


WITCHBLADE #1
Writer: Caitlin Kittredge Artist: Roberta Ingranata, Bryan Valenza Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: December 6, 2017 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
Handed down from one worthy woman warrior to another for ions, the Witchblade gauntlet has chosen its next host in wartime journalist Alex Underwood. She suffers from PTSD and helps battered women find justice. The book opens with her bloodied and dying. The non-linear story jumps around from what led up to her situation, to helping an abused cop's wife, to having visions probably induced by the gauntlet. She rejects the growing power of the Witchblade it but that could kill her. 
The trouble with origin stories like this is the predictability of passing the torch to another chosen one. We know that Alex will eventually take to the Witchblade and use…

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …

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…