Archie vs Predator II #1: Revenge Comes to Riverdale
Rick Burchett (covers), Alex di Campi (story), Derek Charm (covers), Kelly Fitzpatrick (covers/coloring), Francesco Francavilla (covers), Robert Hack (covers/line art), Wes Hartman (covers), Jack Morelli (line art), Dan Parent (covers), Rosario Tito Peṅa (covers), Billy Tucci (covers)
Archie Comics/Dark Horse Comics
July 24th, 2019
Archie Comics has specialized in unusual crossovers. From the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles visiting Riverdale to Archie and company meeting Batman and Robin, parody crossovers have become a major flow of cash for the company. Riding the thin line between horror and self-parody, Archie vs Predator II manages to be heartbreaking, interesting, and confusing in the same motion.
We rejoin Betty, Veronica and… well, basically Archie (in actuality a Predator transformed via science into a clone of Archie), as they return to Riverdale and see the horror that’s overtaken their now-squalid hometown. Worse, they can’t find Memory Lane, the street they walk up to return home—it only works for the now very not-himself Archie. All three seem doomed to be stuck in their ruined hometown forever. Then Betty has a mysterious dream that results in a shocking encounter that might mean the salvation of humanity—or the entry of more Predators to their world.
This is definitely a comic that doesn’t work unless you read the first installment. Walking into the series blind is like being dropped from a plane into a war zone: the bullets come from all sides but you have no idea who the heroes and villains are. So I strongly urge anyone who wants to start up the sequel to check out the first comic.
As someone who has read the previous series, I can comfortably say the writing’s pretty good. From some decent gallows humor (Predator-Archie still comes when Veronica whistles) to genuine pathos (Veronica helping Betty when she breaks down under the mental weight of what she’s facing), it does pack something of a solid punch. The twist at the end of the book is a mind-bender filled with sharp, interesting ideas.
Character-wise, Betty and Veronica carry this issue beautifully, and they’re both filled with sulky, sarcastic humor—fragile, but trying to live through the situation in the best way they can. Archie is a non-entity at the moment, which makes him harder to bond with.
The art, naturally, is stunning—Robert Hack is a great artist and his line-art is compelling and impressive. Kelly Fitzpatrick’s coloring, as always, gives the reader the feeling they’re watching a nightmarish oil painting unfurl before them. The book is preparing us for a dark, long ride, and the shadows and light that bounce off of the walls keep us uncertain of who will survive.
Archie Vs Predator II is for readers with strong stomachs and steely nerves. For some, the ride won’t be worthwhile. The promising art, however, has me hoping for a strong series.