Review - Archie 1955 #1 (@ArchieComics)

"...whatever became of Archie Andrews?"

Archie Andrews is something of an every-man. Essentially, he's whatever he needs a story about him to be. In Archie 1955 #1 from Archie Comics, he gets a chance at being a burgeoning musician. The issue is written by Brian Augustyn and Mark Waid, illustrated by Tom Grummett, colored by Glenn Whitmore and lettered by Jack Morelli.

Can a rocking teenager from a small, sleepy town find fame and fortune through this new phenomenon called "rock and roll"? When Archie Andrews proves to a local DJ that he's got the makings of a hip-shaking stardom, he begins an ascent to fame that will carry with it both triumph and tragedy.

Augustyn and Waid know what makes a good Archie story; the problem with Archie 1955 #1 is that everyone else does as well. The issue is pitched as a take on the character in 1955 (similar to the previous miniseries set in 1941) where Archie is on the verge of graduation and is given the offer of a lifetime. Augustyn and Waid really tap into the rock n' roll mentality of the era, crafting a story that feels legitimate for a character like Archie. The dialogue throughout the issue is on-par with that of the era, despite spots where it feels like the wording is trying a little too hard to fit within the context of the setting. The ending of the issue doesn't really align with the beginning, in that Augustyn and Waid pitch a larger mystery at the outset that feels somewhat undercut by the final page.

Grummett's linework is a good match for the characters, infusing them with plenty of '50s sensibilities. There's a fineness to his linework that capitalizes on distinguishing outlines for each of the characters that afford them more weight against the backdrops. And in many of the panels, Grummett doesn't really do much in terms of backgrounds, instead allowing the characters to be present amidst boldly colored backdrops. Most of the issue feels relatively buttoned-up as far as panel layouts go, but when the energy gets a bit more frenetic the panel layouts get equally as energetic. Whitmore's colors are bright all things considered, even in scenes where there are darker environs.

Archie 1955 #1 is another reimagining of the historic character, although there's really not much new in this outing. Part of what makes Archie so enduring is there's a certain scalability in terms of his personality and his friends and the issue is no different in tapping into that. Augustyn and Waid have written a story that fits squarely into the Archie story template. Grummett's illustrations aptly capture the essence of Archie and his cohorts. Archie 1955 #1 is very familiar territory for fans of the series.

Archie 1955 #1 is available now.