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‘The Best Archie Comic Ever! #1’ (review)

Written by Fred Van Lente, Aubrey Sitterson, Ruben Najera 
Art by Tim Seeley, Jed Dougherty, Giorgia Sposito
Published by Archie Comics

 

The Best Archie Comic Ever! really isn’t.

Not even close, in fact.

Surely even Archie Comics must realize that a comic book without even so much as a mention of Frank Doyle, George Gladir, Dan DeCarlo, Harry Lucey, Bob Montana, Stan Goldberg, Fernando Ruiz or Dan Parent couldn’t possibly be the best Archie comic ever.

So, okay, beyond the misleading title, is it any good? I didn’t think so. Not much, anyway. The book consists of three short stories, well-drawn in what I still think of as the “new” Archie style, and yet here revisiting old Archie tropes.

From the 1960s, we have Archie superheroes and spies, and from the 1980s (I believe) we have Jughead as a barbarian.

My original introductions to our evergreen Riverdale friends came in those superhero and spy adventures so instant nostalgia usually hits me when they’re revisited, but not here.

The Pureheart the Powerful story seems a one-off, unaffected by any prior continuity of which I’m aware. Archie and Pureheart are two different people this time out…or are they?

The funniest bit in the whole book deals with Archie and Jughead discussing and seeing the end credits of a superhero movie. The art by Tim Seeley is good.

The Veronica and Betty as spies story is the best written piece here, by Ruben Najera, with smooth art by Giorgia Sposito, but it feels like it should be much longer and just kind of stops, without much of an explanation or an ending. Some great dialogue, though.

“Jughead the Burgarian,” written and drawn by Aubrey Sitterson and Jed Dougherty, is my favorite piece, in spite of the fact that this version of Jughead physically resembles the recent TV version much more than the classic comic book version. My favorite art of the three, and, again, some amusing dialogue, but 100% predictable from the splash page on.

I realize that Archie Comics has to keep up with changing times. That’s literally what they’ve always had to do! But as much as I will always love these characters, I’m starting to think that in my 60s, they may finally have left me behind.

 

 

 

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