REVIEW: Archie #630

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Or – “This Cover Has The Makeup On All The Wrong People…”

Veronica should have the Demon makeup, as she is the one with the hair to carry it off.  (Plus, I think many people will agree that she would be the most interesting one to carry off Gene Simmons’ trademark tongue thing.)

Jughead should be Ace Frehley, the ethereal Celestial spaceman who could clearly eat as many hamburgers as he wanted.

Betty should be the upbeat, front-and-center Starchild (albeit one with a slightly modified upper body leotard.)

And, finally, Archie should be the Catman, both much maligned figures with bad hair.

Next issue, Reggie, Moose, Dilton and Big Ethel should dress up as GWAR.

ARCHIE #630
Writer: Alex Segura
Penciler: Dan Parent
Inker: Rich Koslowski
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Colorist: Digikore Studios
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Publisher: Archie Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Archie:  The unpredictable powers of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch created a portal in the middle of Riverdale that allowed monsters from an alternate reality to pour through and begin draining the fun out of town.  Things seemed to be looking up when the heroic KISS (The Demon, The Celestial, The Starchild and The Beast King) arrived to fight the monsters and (for some reason) team up with the kids from Riverdale High.  Sadly, their rally was short-lived as the Multiversal Monsters (Where are Frankie, Drac and Wolfie when you really need ‘em) took down hero and schoolkid alike, and prepared to sacrifice Riverdale’s residents in order to feed off their awesome.

NOT-SO-GROOVY GHOULIES…

We open with Sabrina summarizing last issue:  “The bad guys won.”  Heh.  I really enjoy the tongue-in-cheek nature of this whole arc, including the references to the KISS discography here and there (like the Dynasty amulet that powers the bad guys).  The band turns on their teen partners after the ignominy of getting cracked on the head by fake monsters, KISS tells Arch and the gang to hit the bricks, leaving the kids from Riverdale in a snit, but Archie realizes that there’s still hope:  “Anybody in the mood for a carnival?”  There’s great iconic power in the Archie Comics house style, and Dan Parent does wonderful things within the model constraints of the cartoony main characters.  What’s more, the members of KISS are believably imposing throughout, especially in the full-page shot wherein they teleport in ready to bring the pain… by LIVING EVERY DAY LIKE IT’S THEIR ROCKIN’ LAST!!!  You want to tell us about the food chain, but KISS will teach us about the ROCK CHAIN!  (Instead of a cow at the top, there’s like… a guitar.)

YOU GOT YOUR SUGAR SUGAR ON MY LOVE GUN!

Wow, that’s sounds dirty, doesn’t it?

Gene, Paul, Ace and Pete leap into their attack, a live performance of Rock & Roll All Nite, while the Archies cheer, but they forgot the monstrous antagonists, who quickly defeat and capture the rock stars.  Archie and his friends have only one option:  Take over and rock out, Donnie Kirschner-style!  They quickly rework a KISS classic with their own edge, and Riverdale Rock City brings the crowd of zombified Riverdalmatians back to their senses.  Meanwhile, Dilton (the brains of the outfit), Sabrina (the heart) and Kevin Keller (the fabulous) take out the villains’ power, and it’s an all-out pier-six slobberknocker!  Jim Ross himself would have trouble calling all the awesome, with scalded dogs everywhere, KISS back in play, and the Monster Squad getting kicked in the nards.  (Yes, Wolfman’s got nards.)  The secret of the monsters is also wonderful, serving both as an explanation of the story and a great lesson for any theoretical younger readers.  The only minor problem with readability was a moment during big musical number wherein I couldn’t figure out why the members of KISS had strange looks on their faces, leading me to think they were turning evil or mind-conrolled.  This was, however, pretty much the only real art problem with the issue for me…

THE VERDICT: ROCK & ROLL ALL NITE & READ THIS EVERY DAY!

You should absolutely check this out.  I’m not sure if Archie does TPB collections, but they really need to make an exception if you don’t.  The only thing this crossover was missing was a flexidisk with the soundtrack on it, like Billy & The Boingers had that one time.  Archie #630 delivers the goods on all fronts, doesn’t forget the second-stringers, and puts Kevin Keller in the makeup of The Fox, earning a darn-near perfect 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.  You have to love a book like this, and the best part is, you can do it in a totally non-ironic way (seeing as the hipsters are the villains.)

Rating: ★★★★½