"Archie vs. Sharknado" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Archie Comics
Written by Anthony C. Ferrante
Illustrated by Dan Parent
2015, 48 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on July 22nd, 2015
Archie has met KISS, the Punisher, and soon The Ramones. He's fought zombies and a Predator. Now he faces a tornado filled with sharks in this special one-shot. There are a number of sharknados tearing up the “feast coast” (HAR HAR!), but Archie and his pals are really only concerned about the one that's about to hit Riverdale, if for nothing else than to save the school dance. That seems to be the preeminent reason for the rush, not that this bizarre force of nature is hurling sharks at their friends and loved ones.
There's not much else to go on in terms of story in Archie vs. Sharknado. It's an oversized comic filled with ridiculous and gory death scenes. It actually plays like your average Archie comic at times, with Moose and Midge bickering and Jughead lusting after a ham. These bits of normalcy are interspersed with increasingly absurd kills as the sharknado intensifies.
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There are some pretty hilarious bits throughout the comic that work well with the overall sharknado mythos. This should come as no surprise as Anthony C. Ferrante, the director of all three films, wrote the book. There are things here that just wouldn't work in a movie, such as some folks using sharks as water skis or, my personal favorite, Jughead biting a shark. This last one sets off this whole subplot of a shark that steals Jughead's hat and wears it for the remainder of the issue, forcing the hungry teenager to seek the fish out for revenge. I told you it was ridiculous, right?
Dan Parent's artwork is in the traditional Archie style, giving the overall comic a fun, carefree flair. He juxtaposes that happy youth with the strangest and most violent shark on human battles we've ever seen. The people aren't the only ones getting beheaded either. That's a particularly awesome scene where Veronica literally rips a shark's head off. If Archie was watching, it would make it pretty easy to decide between her and Betty after that. Even in the face of such bloodshed, these characters are walking around with smiles on their faces.
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There are what appear to be cameos of other Sharknado characters scattered throughout the comic. These stick out like sore thumbs because they're not in the same style as the rest of the comic. You'll see a floating head or a passerby that's drawn in a more detailed, realistic look that just doesn't flow. I get the reasoning behind it, but it feels forced. It would have been OK if it was just one or two, but there are a bunch and the joke falls pretty flat.
Archie vs. Sharknado is the kind of comic where you know exactly what you're getting into when you pick it up. If you've even heard of the Sharknado franchise, you'll have an idea of what to expect. It's weird and silly and not to be taken seriously at all, but ultimately it comes across as lackluster. Having this title come out so soon after the recently wrapped Archie vs. Predator series probably hurt it too, as we've just seen a similar but far more interesting gorefest over in that book.