"Archie vs. Predator #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Written by Alex de Campi
Illustrated by Fernando Ruiz
2015, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 20th, 2015
Archie and his buddies return to Riverdale after their Spring Break trip to Costa Rica. Although they left a few people behind...and in pieces, they were not alone in this trip. Unbeknownst to them, they were followed by a fierce Predator, who has been hunting the kids one by one. This might have something to do with the magic knife that Betty picked up in a strange cave. (My editor just informed me this is a plot to a Brady Bunch episode.) One thing is for sure though: No one is safe.
Archie vs. Predator started out as a fun, nostalgic romp with these familiar characters. We had a few laughs as those pretentious assholes Cheryl and Jason had their spines ripped out. Here's the thing: that was tame compared to what writer Alex de Campi puts them through in this issue. Someone's head literally explodes on the second page. The second page! Oh, and we're only halfway through the series.
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This issue is packed with blood and gore and it's done so in a pretty humorous way. The aforementioned head explosion happens at Pop's Chocklit Shoppe, sending pieces of brain matter and an eyeball flying into a cake. Over the next couple pages, Jughead is seriously contemplating eating said cake before eventually diving in. Even in the face of death, the man is still very hungry. I can relate to that.
Some of the deaths happen so suddenly that they're both shocking and hilarious. Veronica ends up dealing with a lot of the aftermath of these kills, as she's covered in more blood than Carrie after prom. A big part of this humor is attributable to Fernando Ruiz's artwork, portraying these characters in the traditional, innocent Archie style. There's this look of shock and disbelief on their eyes when someone is murdered, like the sheer concept of death is foreign to them.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch makes an appearance this time around, with a nice nod to Afterlife with Archie. Betty and Veronica turn to her for help in dealing with this strange creature that's terrorizing the town. Sabrina is not fazed by this death and destruction that's been following the gang around. It's just another day for her, plus she gets to pull out the Necronomicon again.
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In other Predator stories such as the recent Fire and Stone crossover mini-series, the creature speaks but in a language we don't understand. It amounts to a bunch of strange letters that we can't read. This can be frustrating, as we have no idea what this thing is saying throughout the comic. Alex de Campi fixed that by replacing that strange text with emojis. They're subtle boxes that give you an idea of what the Predator is thinking, and they're often pretty funny, especially towards the end of the book where the action is pumped up.
Archie vs. Predator is the most fun you'll have reading a comic. If you have even a passing knowledge of these characters, you'll find a lot to enjoy here. If you hate them and want to see them all die, you're going to absolutely love it. Alex de Campi pulls no punches with the mayhem raining down on Riverdale and coupled with Fernando Ruiz's artwork, it's a glorious thing to witness.