By Justin McCarty
America’s favorite teen garage-band is back in a new ongoing series. The Archies are a hit at their first gig; only Archie has no idea where the band will go from here. The first issue kicks off the story of the band and their aspirations for making it big. If you are an Archie fan, you might not find many complaints with this series. There’s also not much going on here to really get you hooked if you are not. Its plot lacks depth and focuses solely on Archie and his problem. Great artwork makes up for the plot though.
The story opens with The Archies’ first concert, as Archie relishes the spot-light Jughead introduces the story’s conflict: What’s next? Archie gets very little help from his pals, and only Jughead seems really invested in the band. By the end of the story, Archie has learned his lesson after Jughead takes him to the last concert of The Bingos before they go on tour. Archie learns that what's important is having fun with your friends, not worrying about the minutiae of having a band.
The desaturated color palette with blue and pink tones makes the book very fun to look at. The neon colors mirror the rock and roll atmosphere and give us context for the wide-eyed teenaged optimism of Archie and his friends. The costuming and colors work together to keep the characters interesting. The colors were the best part of the book. The artwork compliments the light plot and keeps every page visually interesting. The word balloons step up to keep the eye bouncing and change color for story emphasis, a nice touch. Archie never does much that is very interesting instead the book manages to hold us with a classic but fresh look.
The conflict in this story feels strained. It is not always important to have a complex plot or a layered exploration of a character, but a character should actually do something. Archie never really solves anything, Jughead introduces the problem. There is nothing to indicate that Archie would have ever realized he has no plan for his band. Archie makes no real decisions on his own or takes any steps to learning his lesson. Jughead solves his problem for him after making him go see The Bingos. Even then, nothing happens to force him to a realization, its told to him by a Bingos band member. As the story climaxes and he gets ready to proclaim his epiphany to his bandmates, his problem is still solved for him. His bandmates don’t get their own storylines to let us see their stories and how they come to solve Archie’s problem, either. It’s hard to really get into characters when they aren’t allowed to solve their own problems.
It’s a well-packaged story with a lot to like. The premise makes this a promising series and I look forward to this book finding its footing. Great artwork and lettering keep the book interesting, but really can’t help the forced storytelling.
The Archies #1