"Archie vs. Predator #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Alex de Campi
Illustrated by Fernando Ruiz
2015, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on April 15th, 2015
That Archie Andrews is such an overachiever. It’s not enough for him to face a zombie horde and the forces of Cthulhu in Afterlife with Archie, now he's taking on the galaxy's deadliest hunter: the Predator. I'm sure he's up to the task with his years of combat training and advanced fighting skills...right?
Archie vs. Predator is just as silly and fun as the title sounds. On the one hand, you've got the family-friendly Archie and his pals taking a beach vacation to the scenic Los Perdidos Resort. On the other is a ruthless killing machine slowly hunting each of them down. The gang doesn't know what they're in for just yet, so they go about their usual business. Betty and Veronica pine for Archie's affection. Jason and Cheryl rub their wealth in everyone's faces (seriously, these guys are the 1% of Riverdale). Jughead eats everything in sight. Then things start to get a little bloody.
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This issue works like your basic setup to most horror movies. The carefree co-eds head out to the woods and become the target for a killer who begins picking them off one-by-one. The fact that the cannon fodder...err...people are characters that have been around for decades amplifies that tension. Seriously, can you imagine how great it's going to be when that douchebag Reggie gets his spine ripped out? What's amazing is just how innocent these kids are in the face of true-blue horror. A massive spaceship lands nearby and they're more concerned about who will win best dressed for the yearbook. There is a scene where blood is literally dripping on them and they don't even notice.
Alex de Campi is the perfect writer for Archie vs. Predator. She captures that fun humor from the Riverdale kids while filling the comic with dread, because you know all of this is going to end horribly. There's a certain delight in knowing that they're going to face so much bloodshed over the course of this four issue mini-series. This is particularly interesting as de Campi also has a creator-owned series over at Image called No Mercy filled with a bunch of kids heading for disaster. In both cases, I can't wait to see how things turn out.
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Artist Fernando Ruiz nails the look and feel of Archie. This is unsurprising as he's worked on numerous Archie comics over the years. The introduction of the Predator mixes things up a bit. There are several panels where we see through the Predator's infrared visor. Instead of seeing the creature's thoughts in its own language, we're presented with emojis, which is a nice touch. These panels add that layer of horror with a bit of comedy thrown in. When the blood really starts flowing, Ruiz delivers on a dynamite page showing the Predator holding two trophies next to the torn up corpses of his victims. It gives us a glimpse of what's in store for this book and holy crap is it gruesome.
This issue also includes a one-page backup called “Sabrina Meets Hellboy.” Written by de Campi and illustrated by Sabrina artist Robert Hack, the story is a fun addition to the book, showing Hellboy on a mission for the B.P.R.D. searching for Salem the cat for his past deeds and coming across Sabrina as a little girl.
Archie vs. Predator is a very fun comic. If you've ever wanted to see these beloved characters get torn limb from limb, then look no further. This is only just beginning. Place your bets as to which member of the Riverdale folks will get eviscerated by the Predator. Oh! I almost forgot! This comic contains the line “I'm a gosh-darn sexual Tyrannosaur”, so shut up and give Dark Horse your money.