Story by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa / Drawn by ‘Various’
In an effort to both modernize and revitalize the brand, Archie and the Riverdale gang have been subjected to a number of iterations over the past several years, some more in line with the original Archie tone than others. While the flagship Archie (launched in 2014 by writer Mark Waid and artist Fiona Staples) is the closest in spirit to its light-hearted progenitor, other titles like Afterlife with Archie and Archie VS. Predator have focused on thrusting the characters into darker and more mature predicaments. The new CW television series Riverdale follows this mode of genre-bending storytelling, placing Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead into a Twin Peaks inspired, murder-mystery.
Riverdale the comic is a one-shot composed of four vignettes, each individually telling the story of the quartet’s life leading into the first episode of the show. What we get here is prologue, not only in the events that transpire over their fateful summer of discontent, but in each character’s disposition due to these events. Each story is penned by a writer from the show: Brian E. Paterson (“Archie”), Britta Lundin (“Betty”), James Dewille (“Veronica”), and Will Ewing (“Jughead”). Archie’s character has the most depth by far, thanks in no small part to the way Paterson captures his youthful angst in the narration. That’s not to say the rest fall short; this is a well written comic through and through.
The art is also excellent, each artist (Elliot Fernandez, Jim Towe, Thomas Pitilli and Alitha Martinez respectively) has a different but very complimentary style. The art in “Jughead” fairs the worst, but only in comparison to the three stellar efforts that precede it.
Ultimately this book merely serves as a prelude to the television series. It doesn’t have enough ‘meat’ for each individual story to stand on its own. But if you’re hot for the show (or Ms. Grundy) this comic might just be worth picking up! -Keli
Are you a fan of Riverdale’s take on the Archie mythos? Tweet @kelthe80skid and let me know!