Archie, Vol. 1: The New Riverdale by Mark Waid is one of the sleeper hits of the past year and with good reason. Good stories and good artwork. Mark Waid brings Archie and the gang from Riverdale into the 2000s with modern day problems and challenges but still maintaining the feel of the comic that started its run back in 1941.
Archie Andrews, Jughead Jones and the whole high school crew of Riverdale have been America’s favorite teenagers for over half a century and for the later part of their reign, have been somewhat stale and unrelatable. But Waid brings Archie into this century and still keeps the characters true to their original nature.
Riverdale is consumed with the rumors of the breakup of Archie and Betty. A couple who have been friends since they were children. They were friends and not really a couple in the romantic sense of the word but all of Riverdale High saw them as a couple. But that was before the lipstick incident and now Betty and Archie are not even talking to one another. The kids of Riverdale High had no choice but to devise a plan to get the duo back together. But to do so, they have to enlist the help of Archie’s best friend, Jughead Jones. All looked like it was going well until the arrival of the new girl in town; Veronica Lodge.
When I began reading comics as a kid, I was mostly into horror and superhero books. Archie was my hidden joy. The hokey and cute tales of Riverdale, which I am sure don’t even remotely resemble the television show, were a relief from the life around me. They were Norman Rockwell paintings at a time when the world resembled a Jackson Pollack chaotic frenzy. In the sixties and seventies, Archie Comics reminded everyone of a time that seemed lost. Now, with the strong writing of Mark Waid, Archie brings a sense of innocence to Archie that was central to the character as a whole. An innocence that is its calling card. The time has changed. But the setting and the characters remain true to themselves and there is something very endearing about this.
A good and fun read.
ARCHIE VOL. 1 collects ARCHIE #1-6.
Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy may be the sleeper comic of the end of 2017 and a great short series to bring 2018 in with. The artwork by Matt Hollingsworth is insanely good and though most of the Batman fandom is following and hunting down every Metal comic; and rightfully so, Batman White Knight may very well be the best Batman going today.
What happens when the Joker pushes the Batman too far? What happens when an emotionally unstable Batman cannot think clearly? Then it is up to the Joker to save Gotham City. In a violent an all out street fight, Batman forces a handful of pills down his throat in front of the entire city. A beat down that was captured on social media and quickly brings all out condemnation from the public. Has the caped crusader gone too far? Can the public continue to accept this violent vigilante?
“…I see Gotham more clearly than any of you. But you won’t admit it. To you, I’m just a psycho in makeup. You left me no choice, but to come here tonight, to prove it to you…”
The pills have a side effect no one expected. They have cured the clown prince of crime of his madness and he is now just Jack Napier. And Jack owes a debt to Gotham. He is going to clean the streets and bring peace to the city. To do so, he must first take on Gotham’s greatest villain: The Batman.
Sean Murphy is a great comic book writer and he does what, currently with this group of writers we have now, so few are willing. He takes established characters down a path that may endanger their legacy and does so with respect and daring. The hero going bad is not a new concept. We were teased with this in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and see it often in the Superman comics where Lex Luthor is seen by the public as a good guy. A benefactor, heck Luthor was even the President of the United States for a time.
But in White Knight, Murphy does more than tease. He walks right in and takes the best table.
Creative, good writing and kick ass art. Batman: White Knight is one of the best comics of 2017 and is sure to make an impact in 2018.
Don’t miss it!
Gotham Academy: Second Semester, Vol.1: Welcome Back by Brendan Fletcher is a terrific and creative series that has one foot in the Batman Universe and for the rest, stands quite comfortably on its own. If there was a comic that was begging to be made into a television series, this one is it!
For Gotham Academy student Olive Silverlock, the winter holiday are the worst. As the school empties out, even her little detective club leaves, a new student arrives to help keep Olive company. The new girl is Amy and soon the duo find themselves up to no good as Amy convinces Olive to vandalize the Chapel.
Soon the detective club returns from break and Olive quickly finds out that there is much more to Amy than meets the eye. The detective club soon finds itself battling against a new group who call themselves the witch club. The witch club begins to pull dangerous pranks on the other students and soon Olive’s good friend Maps goes missing. The detective club discovers that the witch club has taken her and that they are being controlled by circuit boards in their hats.
The detective club figures out who is leading the witch club and stop him but not before one of their own is expelled and an even greater mystery is unearthed. The Lost Book of Gotham.
Gotham Academy is a book that you would not think to take seriously, but demands to be taken seriously. With its cast of characters, it is more suited for something aligned with Archie Comics than Batman but that is where you make your mistake. It is gritty and stylist and noire and at its core, a detective story. Its artwork cries out Scooby and the Gang or even Buffy but its story is pure Gotham.
DC made the right choice continuing this series with the Rebirth line and hopefully more and more fans will find it!