The New Riverdale

July 4, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

riverdaleThe New Riverdale by Mark Waid & Fiona Staples

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I know, I know: Archie is for kids. But Mark Waid and Fiona Staples! With a pedigree like that behind the title, how could I resist?

I read Archie a lot when I was a kid, and always liked it. I liked the slapstick humor of it, but even at a young age, I had a better appreciation for the stories that were more significant, like when Betty’s dad lost his job, or Archie and the gang intervened to make sure a homeless boy could eat and find his family. Waid takes the story of Archie Andrews and Riverdale and reboots it from the very beginning, but he starts the series off with stories that have that kind of significance.

All the highlights of the Archie universe are here: Archie has been friend with Betty since they were both children; they dated before the comic started, but broke up shortly before this series begins; and Veronica moves into town shortly thereafter, and Archie gets smitten by her. All the usual gang is here — Jughead, Ronnie, even Moose — and we all get a new introduction to the characters through this first volume. Even Jughead gets a backstory! And what makes the development even more impressive is that these aren’t new characters with the same names; these are the same characters, just updated and modernized without sacrificing the heart of these characters who are over 75 years old.

With someone like Mark Waid behind the title, it should come as no surprise that The New Riverdale is modern without being gritty, honest without being preachy, and new without being dishonest with the characters. It’s cleverly told, with Archie serving as our narrator and our main character, and it gives the characters a depth that was lacking in the older series. It’s not perfect, but it’s impressive enough for me to add this to my titles to follow.

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