• Archie Vs. Predator #1



    Archie Vs. Predator #1
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: April 15th, 2105.
    Written: Alex de Campi
    Art by: Fernando Ruiz
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    There are, in the world of pop culture, things that come across as stupid, obnoxious cash-in opportunities on the part of those who control the rights to various iconic characters and properties that shouldn’t work, but do. Case in point? Archie Vs. Predator #1, the first issue of a new four issue limited series published by Dark Horse Comics (who hold the Predator license) and Archie Comics (who obviously hold the Archie license). Now, granted, Archie has been given a pretty goddamn awesome revival in recent times thanks to the Afterlife With Archie series and then later the Sabrina revamp, but what worked there won’t necessarily translate into a crossover, will it? Scribe Alex de Campi, who has been turning out consistently fantastic stories in her Grindhouse series for Dark Horse, doesn’t even attempt to go there.

    It’s spring break in Riverdale and Archie and the gang have just won a luxury beach vacation thanks to Jughead and his love of junk food. By the time we hit page two, they’ve arrived at Los Perdidos Resort and things look great, though Jughead is warned not to go into the jungle – there are jaguars there! So the gang settle in and commence to hanging out in that way that Archie characters tend to hang out, meaning that Reggie falsely boasts about a sexual conquest, Dilton does some typically nerdy stuff and Bettie dreams of a romance with Archie. They all notice the spaceship fall out of the sky and crash-land nearby, but most of them assume it’s a shooting star – something to celebrate, not to fear.

    The next day private school jerks Cheryl and Jason show up to show off, and Veronica runs off with them – always more interested in money and status than much else, it makes sense that she’d do that. Dilton, trying to get the yearbook done while on break, has a few popularity contests going on and Betty gets in on this like you’d least expect, which sets Veronica off in a big way and ends in a bloody fight sending Betty off into the jungle solo. Alone she finds a cave, and a ceremonial dagger inside that cave, but of course the others have become concerned and headed into the brush to look for her. You know what’s out there in that jungle, right? We saw the spaceship crash, we saw that creature lurking in the background in a few key panels… at this point it’s just matter of who will die first and who will make it out alive.

    This first issue has a lot of fun details worked into the panels – a Dutch’s Beach Bar sign, Veronica holding a hamburger behind her waist to coerce Jughead into voting for her and some strategically placed drops of blood are quite amusing to see. Fernando Ruiz illustrates the book in a traditional Archie style, meaning this looks like any issue of Archie you might have pulled off of the racks over the last fifty years, but he does it well. This is colorful and nicely illustrated and really just fun to look at. Alex de Campi’s story sets up the events to come in some interesting ways, ending not at all how you’d expect it and does a great job of accentuating the cattiness inherent in the relationship that exists between Betty and Veronica and cranking that up a bit to interesting effect. She keeps things within the ‘Archie realm’ however, never really overdoing it or writing the characters differently than you’d expect them to be, just placing them in an unusual situation and letting them react the way you’d expect traditional archie characters to react. It works. It shouldn’t, but it does.

    If that weren’t enough? We get a one page Sabrina Meets Hellboy comic written by de Campi and illustrated by Robert Hack in which the world’s greatest paranormal investigator shows up to check out the teenage witch’s cat!
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Huh. I'm not a big comic book guy, but this sounds like it's worth reading.
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      I had a tough time getting into it based solely on the artwork. I really wanted to like it, but couldn't get past the art.
    1. Newt Cox's Avatar
      Newt Cox -
      Loved it. BUt I am use to the new Archie House style. The Sabrina one pager was also fun.