Title: Archie Vs. Predator #1
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Alex de Campi
Artist: Fernando Ruiz
Inker: Rich Koslowski
Colorist: Jason Millet
Letterer: John Workman
Cover Artist: Fernando Ruiz, Rich Koslowski, and Jason Millet; Eric Powell; Francesco Francavilla
Beware, spoilers below!
To preface this review, I must admit I had never read an Archie comic before. While I had always been fascinated by the rich history that was behind it, it just never became one of those series that I had jumped into, even with the “reinvention” as of late with numerous takes and ideas. After reading Archie Vs. Predator, I can only now barely claim to have read anything in that universe, but that is quite alright. If you are like myself and have never read Archie, or if you are a long time fan of the gang, there is plenty to enjoy as the happy-go-lucky characters meet the ultimate killing machine in one of the most strange concoctions I have read.
It is spring break and Archie and his friends have no idea what they’re going to do, while the rich Jason and Cheryl taunt them with their plans for yachting in the Caribbean. Lucky for the group, Juggie’s snack of Tayto-Chips contains a winning pass for an all expenses paid vacation on a luxury beach for them all. If only they knew what was in store.
Arriving at the beach, the story plays out as you would imagine an Archie tale would. While looking to have some fun, flirting, and relaxation, Dilton is working on the high school yearbook polls, which includes the best dressed student. Veronica over hears and sets out to make sure she wins best dressed by a land slide. Meanwhile, a strange alien ship lands in the nearby jungle.
Jason and Cheryl are near the beach on their yacht and decide to stir up a little trouble. Veronica dresses in her most stylish clothe, wowing the men of the group, including Archie, which causes Betty to become jealous. Cheryl uses the opportunity to convince Betty to let her dress her so she can win best dressed and catch Archie’s eye.
The plan works to well and infuriates Veronica who attacks Betty, breaking her nose accidentally. Veronica falls in the water as Archie rushes to her aid, not noticing Betty’s injury. In tears, Betty runs away into the jungle to get away, and makes her way to a mysterious ancient temple. There, she finds a dagger which she inadvertently catches on her clothe and comes with her when she leaves. The gang enters the jungle to find her. Once together, Veronica and Betty quickly makeup, seemingly wrapping everything up. However, the group doesn’t notice the Predator above them in the tree tops, having brutally killed Jason and Cheryl, ripping their skull and spines from their bodies.
The group arrives back home after their vacation and resume their normal routine of hanging out at Pop’s for some burgers. Only it seems the Predator may have a claim to the dagger Betty has, as he has followed them back for more bloody mayhem to be sure.
Easily the most entertaining factor of this crossover is having the contrast between the free-spirited, colorful cast of Archie and pitting them against the blood thirsty alien that is the Predator. To make it feel like an authentic Archie adventure, Fernando Ruiz, a longtime Archie illustrator, pencils the entire issue. Throughout the issue, you only get hints that something bigger is going on, until finally the dramatic reveal at the end of how the Predator has savagely killed the two. It’s laughable seeing the cartoon style art pitted with such a graphic killing, but it lends to the charm of pitting these opposites together.
Presumably things are only going to get darker from here on out, all in the bright little town of Riverdale. The series is promising that not all of the gang is going to come out alive, and I’m really hoping that is the case. Anymore, it seems anything can happen in Archie Comics, so there is no reason for them not to have some more, high-profile, shocking deaths to come. The build up to the scene of seeing what was left of Jason and Cheryl was great, but hopefully future issues will show us more of the actual deaths.
While it is hard to predict what will come from the rest of this series, going by the first issue this is going to be an absolute delight. If you are like me, not having read Archie before, make sure that doesn’t stop you from picking this series up. I had reservations about Archie going in. More than anything, this issue has made me want to check out what Archie Comics have been up to, because I really feel as though I’ve been missing out.