Publisher: Archie Comics
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artwork: Sandy Jarrell, Kelly Fitzpatrick (colours)
Release Date: 7th December, 2016
This series, released as part of Archie Comics’ “New Riverdale” line, is based around everyone’s favourite (right?) prank-playing, party-throwing, girl-chasing reprobate Reggie Mantle. However, rather than telling the story from an impartial external perspective, writer Tom DeFalco has made the absolutely inspired decision to have Reggie’s loyal dog Vader narrate the tale, giving a fiercely loyal, unashamedly biased perspective of Riverdale’s friendly neighbourhood super-villain.
It’s amusing stuff, and Vader’s opinion actually helps a lot to make Reggie seem a lot more like a real character than the one-dimensional bully trope he may have started out as. Reggie himself kind of goes through the motions here for the most part, but it’s Vader’s insight and unquestioned admiration for his best friend that really helps give this first issue its sense of fun.
The story itself is fairly run-of-the-mill stuff, with Reggie trying to be the cool, popular ladies’ man that he thinks he already is, by – you guessed it – throwing a party. Unfortunately, things don’t quite go according to plan, partly because of Reggie’s long-time rival (and former friend) Archie Andrews. We also delve a little in Reggie’s current romantic infatuation while touching on some of the insecurities that he tries so incredibly hard to hide.
Sandy Jarrell’s artwork does exactly what you’d expect from a Riverdale series, with an energetic, expressive cast of characters and some smooth, uncomplicated layouts. Kelly Fitzpatrick adds the colours, keeping things bright without becoming garish, and helping to slot this story comfortably into the well-established “Archie Comics” aesthetic.
Initially, I’ll freely admit that this one felt like a bit of a tough sell to me. I mean, who wants to read a series about a bully bullying people and generally being horrible to everyone? Thankfully however, DeFalco’s clever twist on the narrative and Jarrell and Fitzpatrick’s bright, lively artwork make this an absolute pleasure to read, and while it’s not quite reinventing the wheel, it definitely does a great job of breathing some new life into what was previously a fairly stagnant, one-dimensional character. Definitely well worth a look.
PREVIEW ART / VARIANT COVER GALLERY
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