By Svetlana Fedotov
For anyone who has ever read a comic in the past sixty years, the name Archie is synonymous with goofy teenage antics, love triangles, and cheesy quips that were never-really-that-funny-now-that-I-think-about-it. And, like any work that’s been around for as long as the graphic word itself, Archie and Co. have crossed paths with some strange characters. Punisher, KISS, and Glee are but a small selection of crossovers used to keep the Riverdale gang relevant to the ever changing generations. Thanks to Archie Comics Co. recent addition of a darker Archie universe a la zombie hordes, fans are clamoring for more mature works from the puberty ridden characters. Enter the Predator! Thanks to Dark Horse and Archie Comics Co., we are treated to an alternate world where the Predator not only landed on Archie’s earth, but is hunting the entire gang down.
The first issue is fairly low key despite the implied promise of watching these never-aging teenagers be picked off one by one like flies in a spider’s web. In fact, the issue starts off pretty lighthearted. Centered around the kids as they make their way down to a Costa Rican resort, the reader is treated to a lot of the same silly humor and Betty and Veronica jealousies that are so prevalent in the younger aged comics. But, as the issue progresses, the humor, surprisingly, gets a little dirty and the jealousies soon start to turn pretty serious, which helps set up the story for the Predator. Crashing down into the jungle for purposes that are not yet ours to know, the Predator quickly gets to work hunting down his prey. This time though, it’s not some lost soldiers or Giger aliens, but our very own sunny group of degenerates. Whilst he quietly and carefully maneuvers under the shadows of the trees, questions arise. Why is he here? What does he want? And what does it have to do with the ancient sword that Betty accidentally picked up at an old temple?
As stated, despite the initial opening pages of gag-humor and stacked Jughead sandwiches, Archie vs Predator gets pretty dark. It’s an interesting transition between the silly world of Archie and the horror filled universe where something like the Predator could exist. Though it’s a solid attempt at bringing these two opposites together, the first issue will most likely appeal to fans of Archie than fans of Predator. That’s not to say that the Predator isn’t a strong presence in the comic, but as far as first issues go, this was a lot more about setting up the follow-up issues and since the Predator is the ‘villain,’ there’s just not a lot of him in it yet. Personally, I’m excited to see the Predator make a stronger appearance, mostly so I can see the Riverdale lot stare into the eyes of death and reflect on the meaningless of their lives as their spines are ripped out of their bodies. I mean, who doesn’t?
Writing duties for Archie vs Predator have been delegated to Alex de Campi, who is a regular contributing writer on Dark Horses comics. She has added her love for camp and horror and expertly mixed them onto the paper for what is essentially, campy horror. While I still wish there was a bit more Predator, a little less Archie gang, I’m willing to wait and see if he becomes a more prominent fixture. Current Betty and Veronica illustrator Fernando Ruiz, illustrates the work with his already practiced hand from drawing the Riverdale kids on and off for several years. His take on the Predator is clean and well dedicated, showing not only is he not limited to the Archie art style but is, in fact, one hell of a comic artist. On point angles and smooth panel-to-panel transitions make this an easy-on-the-eyes read. Grab yours on the 15th!