By Laramie Martinez
Riverdale reads like the T.V. show on which it’s based. Containing four mini stories about the main characters, this one shot does a decent job of portraying each of the characters backgrounds and goals. However, as it serves as only an introductions, these characters aren’t as flushed out as they could have been, most of the time their voices feel “generic high school” with each character representing a cliché of high school movies and shows.
Each of the mini-arcs follows the same internal structure, a character voiceovers a summary of one very dramatic summer where they find their lives are rapidly changing via events both beyond and under their control. As I said earlier, I was unimpressed with the voiceovers, they feel pretty generic and represent one of the following categories, the popular jock, the happy go, lucky go-getter, the complex, rich girl, and the artsy loner. Even if you’ve never read an Archie book before you can probably guess which trope belongs to which character.
This series is also setting up a very different series than any of the comics you may have read. The CW series is a brooding high school drama, with Riverdale serving as a backdrop for a lot of angst and scandal. This tone isn’t necessarily bad, it’s easy to see the direction the show/comic is going, and to that end, it does a great job setting up the series. Do not go into this comic expecting the usually lighthearted romp with some will-they-won’t-they drama; this is a complete re-imagining.
From page one the art makes this distinction very clear. Using a muted color pallet and a very realistic style, each artist makes it clear that this isn’t your grandpa’s Archie. Each of them did an excellent job with the characters and situations, with the art outshining the story most of the time. In multi-story issues like this, I usually have one artistic team which drops the ball or tries to do something out of sync with the style of the other teams, but with these artists, I have no complaints.
This book isn’t really for fans of comic book Archie; this is a book for people looking to get into the CW series. And while there may be some crossover there, I think it is an important distinction to make. Ultimately, this comic is an execution of a very specific goal, to introduce comic book fans to the Riverdale T.V. show. It is a goal which I think they adequately pull off, but I cannot really recommend for anyone who isn’t in this comic’s very small target audience.
Riverdale: One Shot
Publisher: Archie Comics