If you thought the Archie gang turning into a roaming bunch of zombies was weird, wait until the Predator shows up in Riverdale!
Previously in Archie vs. Predator: Meet Archie Andrews, America’s favorite teenager! Meet the Predator, the galaxies deadliest hunter! Let’s put them together and see what kind of trouble these two can get into!
TEENAGERS ON VACATION
From the story perspective Archie vs. Predator starts off like you would expect any and every Archie tale to begin – the gang has an opportunity to do something as a group, Cheryl Blossom and her brother are there to rain on the parade, and Veronica and Betty are going to fight for Archie’s affections. In this story, the gang has won a trip to a resort island in the Caribbean, and plan on spending their spring break basking in the sun and having fun. This gives Alex De Campi, a chance to let the gang run wild in a place they haven’t been to before, and sets up all kinds of conflict as Dilton needs to get the yearbook together, the girls put on a “best dressed” contest, Reggie is a jerk, Cheryl arrives to steal ancient artifacts, and Betty and Veronica literally come to blows over Archie.
Then the Predator shows up.
From the start, De Campi does a great job of giving us an Archie tale that is very Archie; good natured adventures, high school conflict, romance, pettiness, and so on. When the Predator arrives, the situation takes a turn for the worst, which is actually a good thing in this case. Those who have read Afterlife with Archie know that it gets really gruesome really quickly, but Dark Horse and Archie Comics keep the violence to a minimum in this first issue, and the only shocking moment comes when readers learn the fate of two characters who ventured too far from the beach. There’s quite a bit of dark humor in the situation as the gang walks through the jungle without noticing globs of blood dripping on them from above. This issue is simply the setup, as the Predator has set his sites on Veronica, and follows the gang back to Riverdale.
WHOA! DID THEY JUST DO THAT!?
Archie vs. Predator isn’t Afterlife with Archie when it comes to the art. Here, Fernando Ruiz (who has drawn Archie for decades) follows the model to the letter, again making this feel like a regular Archie title. So, when the big violent moment happens, it is quite the shock, and I verbally uttered a big “Whoa!” While Afterlife with Archie gives us spooky from the start, the “regular” art style mixed with dead bodies comes off as very subversive. I don’t know if that is the intended result, but I found the juxtaposed art and content to be a very bold, dark, and funny statement. Having seen a preview panel from the next issue, I know for a fact that the visuals are going to get kicked up a notch, and colorist Jason Millet is probably going to run out of red ink…
BOTTOM LINE: SUBVERSIVE FUN
When Archie met The Punisher, the violence was kept to a minimum. In Archie vs. Predator, the bloody moments are only starting to kick into gear. I enjoyed the setup of this story a great deal – it feels like an Archie story, AND it feels like a Predator story. The issue does move a little slow for my taste, but overall the issue was well put together. If you are looking for another foray into horror featuring your favorite (and not so favorite) characters from Riverdale, Archie vs. Predator is a book you’ll want to pick up. As an added bonus, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch meets Hellboy in the backup story.