Review - Archie vs. Predator 2 #1 (@archiecomics)

"Anyway, some bad things happened and now all our friends are dead."

Credit where credit's due: Archie is a survivor. The character has been around for decades, was left for publishing dead and has since come back with a vengeance in a variety of different storylines and crossovers. One of those crossovers is Archie vs. Predator 2 #1 from Archie Comics. The issue is written by Alex de Campi, illustrated by Robert Hack, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick and lettered by Jack Morelli.

Betty, Veronica, and Predator-Archie have been left in the wreckage of their town, all their friends dead. Normally, they'd just go down Memory Lane and get home again where everything's okay, but that's no longer an option. It isn't until they find an undamaged car and drive it down a different road where they can finally return to Riverdale-but their hometown feels different. And it's made even more bizarre when they come face-to-face with a few people they'd never expect: themselves. Only different, newer versions. Little do they know, Predators on Mars are watching them-planning their next attack.

de Campi's script in the first issue of the new series is extremely self-aware. There are plenty of in-jokes referencing the Archie universe in general and de Campi's dialogue does an excellent job of working them in without forcing them too much. The dialogue of Predator-Archie in particular is quite entertaining as de Campi provides him with plenty of emoticons and emojis as a means of communicating. The entire thrust of the issue actually relies on an Archie plot device from way back in finding Memory Lane and the characters use it well as a motivational tool. Betty and Veronica carry the issue very well, providing a very strong point of view for funneling the narrative through.

Hack's linework provides a very mature and adult look at the characters dealing with what is essentially a post-apocalyptic Riverdale. There are interesting perspectives of the characters as Hack focuses on their facial expressions via close-ups more than anything else in addition to some straight-on action shots. The panels are very cleanly arranged, relying on fairly standard grids with empty gutters that allow for the artwork to stay focused and organized. The background settings are vaguely detailed, providing enough that the reader gets a sense of the precise setting. Fitzpatrick's colors are very dark and work well with the tone of the book, relying on very heavy inks throughout most of the issue for dramatic effect.

The first go-round matching the Archie and Predator universes was pretty out there and the second entry is no exception. The Riverdale crew are dealing with another incident that's threatening their livelihood, but they seem up to the task of getting through it. de Campi's script is very self-aware with plenty of winks and nods to other facets of the Archie Comics univers. Hack's artwork is very mature for the seemingly violent nature of what's going on, bolstered by Fitzpatrick's emphatic and dark colors. Archie vs. Predator 2 #1 is very entertaining to read and offers a look at familiar characters that feels more mature and dangerous.

Archie vs. Predator 2 #1 is available July 24.