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‘Archie Vs. The World’ (review)

Written by Aubrey Sitterson
Art by Jed Dougherty
Published by Archie Comics

 

Editor Jamie L. Rotatnte offers a heartfelt behind the scenes look at the making of the new Archie vs the World comic book in its back pages.

It reminds me of how sometimes an actor can have the best time making a movie, make a lot of money, meet folks who become lifelong friends, and still the movie gets a terrible rating on Rotten Tomatoes and loses its producers a small fortune.

Archie vs the World is the latest version of the company’s odd recent trend of just taking other people’s stories and dropping barely recognizable versions of the classic Archie teens into them.

They aren’t parodies, they aren’t actual homages, and they aren’t generally very good.

In this case, we get a barely explained backstory as to why we’re in Mad Max territory, then see super-muscular Archie re-create scenes from that franchise opposite ridiculously exaggerated versions of our other old friends from Riverdale, Reggie, Cheryl, and Betty and Veronica, all narrated by a Jughead who looks more like Scooby Doo’s pal, Shaggy! There’s also a brief scene with Sabrina, the teenage witch, as well as cameos from Josie and the Pussycats and a Hitchcock-style walk-on from a variant of Cosmo, the Merry Martian.

Some of the bits, such as Archie driving his old red jalopy through the post-apocalyptic wastelands, are mildly amusing until you realize the story, such as it is, is taking it all seriously. Only 20 pages of story are here, making it episodic, of necessity, and with no real time to develop any characters or concepts. Most of what we “know,” we know from the Mad Max movies.

The artwork, by Jed Dougherty, is fine for what it is, although at times I felt like I was reading early 1980s 2000AD stories by the likes of Carlos Ezquerra or Massimo Belardinelli. If Dougherty isn’t consciously influenced here by them, he’s channeling them pretty well, anyway.

I’m really not one of those old-time fans that say Archie can never change. But Archie vs the World reminds me of the early Star Trek novels where the authors just wrote their own stories and called the characters “Kirk” and “Spock” and their ship the Enterprise, and just expected us to believe it!

In this case, I ain’t buyin’ it.

You may not want to buy it, either.

 

 

 

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