Skip to main content

'Riverdale' Review: Archie Comics Comes of Age as Moody CW Drama


★★★★☆ (4/5)

"Chapter One: The River’s Edge"
Season 1, Episode 1

Archie Comics has reinvented itself on the page and now has done it for the small screen. 'Riverdale' introduces a whole new audience to Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead in a "Mean Girls" meets "Twin Peaks" kind of way and it works perfectly. 

Besides publishing the wholesome hijinks of the Riverdale kids in their classic style, Archie Comics also rebooted various titles with a more modern spin that kept it fun but with a contemporary approach. They also experimented with a horror line that brings the zombie apocalypse to town in "Afterlife with Archie" and dark magic in "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina."Two legitimately suspenseful books without an ounce of irony. These reimaginings of characters that span over 75 years paved the way for the CW drama that debuted Thursday. 

Archie Comics writer and Chief Creative Officer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, is executive producer and writer for the show and responsible for opening the world of Archie with his "Afterlife with Archie" comic series. He does it again by taking the outline of the Archie Comics mythos and totally remixes it for today. 

Betty Cooper (Lilli Reinhart), Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), and Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa) still make up the legendary love triangle but with some new wrinkles. Betty's in love with the oblivious Archie (now with abs!) who's smitten with new-in-town Veronica, who's a reformed bad girl looking for redemption. Archie was busy during the summer working for his dad Fred (90s icon, 'Beverly Hills 90210' alum Luke Perry) and having a tryst with teacher Miss Grundy (Sarah Habel). So right away, this is not the Riverdale we remember from our youth. 

The mystery in question revolves around the mysterious death of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines) whose twin sister Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) is left devasted but doesn't diminish her alpha mean girl persona. The vibe is definitely from "Twin Peaks" complete with an ominous voice-over from outcast Jughead (Cole Sprouse). The script includes plenty of pop culture references and often meta but avoids corniness. The cast is great and diverse. 

Casey Kott as the openly gay Kevin Keller is a scene stealer. Ross Butler personifies the chauvinistic Reggie Mantle and the all-black Josie and the Pussycats band (Ashleigh Murray, Hayley Law, Asha Bromfield) shine but appears only briefly. It's a stuffed hour of drama and introductions but the show mostly balances it all well with intrigue and soapy goodness. 

'Riverdale' fits right in at the CW, maintaining the moody angst of the network's dramas full of tortured sexy people. The reinvention of the Archie Comics kids can't help but draw from teen series of the past or the tropes of spooky mysterious dramas either. It's as much an homage to those shows as it is a coming-out-party for these characters in 2017. Strap yourself in on Thursdays for an addictive and devilish good time.  

Popular posts from this blog

DC Comics March Movie Poster Variant Covers are Fantastic

DC Comics may have outdone themselves with their running themed variant covers for the month of March 2015. After some fun and gorgeous variants in 2014 like Darwin Cooke (December), LEGO (November), and Bombshells (June) to name a few DC Comics is continuing to bring some creative covers in 2015. January will feature Flash throughout the company line in celebration of his 75th Anniversary, February will bring everyone’s favorite wild card, Harley Quinn, on DC covers, and perhaps the best mash-ups of comics and famous movie posters will arrive in March.

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 …

Fitness Women in Superhero Body Paint by J.M. Manion

J.M. Manion has long been a successful photographer covering the fitness and bodybuilding industry. He has photographed some of the strongest, well-defined physiques on the planet. He's also had a love of super-heroes and comic books. So much so that Manion began publishing his own comic book, Iron Siren Comics, featuring some of the fitness competitors he's covered as superheroes themselves. It's no wonder he sometimes incorporates superhero cosplay and body paint into photo shoots. Here are just some examples of his work:

REVIEW: 'Wasted Space' #6 by Michael Moreci, Hayden Sherman, and Jason Wordie

Now officially an ongoing! The whole fam damily is back! Billy visits a crooked politician. Dust and Fury make sweet bot-love in unsanitary locations. A ghost haunts Molly's visions of Rex. And Legion pets a dog. The galaxy is still totally borked, but maybe together they can un-bork it... oh, probably not.

WASTED SPACE #6
Writer: Michael Moreci Artist: Hayden Sherman, Jason Wordie Letterer: Jim Campbell Publisher: Vault Comics Release Date: February 6, 2019 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)
The second arc of Vault Comics' exceptional space opera "Wasted Space" blasts off in satisfying fashion when the gang crosses the galaxy to have a heart-to-heart with a one-percenter while Legion and the Creator contemplate the usefulness or lack thereof of humanity. It's another stellar chapter from Michael Moreci, Hayden Sherman, and Jason Wordie. 
'Wasted Space' has carved out a unique place for itself as more than just a sci-fi comic. It's one of the mo…

The Wonderful Women of Dynamite and Archie Join Forces in 'Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica'

Dynamite Entertainment announces the most unexpected and exciting crossover of the year...Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica!


Dynamite's first ever crossover with Archie Comics could not be any bigger. The flagship Women of Dynamite come face to face with Riverdale's leading ladies to solve a string of paranormal, unsolved murders. When Drakulon and Hyrkania drop off their famous vampire hunter and sword-wielding barbarian into the small, sleepy town something is surely afoot.


Amy Chu (Red Sonja, KISS: The End, Poison Ivy) returns to the fiery-haired She-Devil to write even more of a fish out of water tale than her fan-favorite Worlds Away arc. Joining her on the art side is Maria Laura Sanapo (DC Comics Bombshells, Charmed) who just drew the Vampirella Valentine's Day Special. Together these two women will chronicle the incomparable charm of their four leading ladies.


Both Dynamite and Archie have had great crossovers with the biggest publishers in the indus…