Tai Freligh reviews Riverdale #1…
From Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and the writers of the new CW series Riverdale comes the first issue of the MUST-READ, brand new, ongoing comic series. Set in the universe of the TV series, the Riverdale comic tells untold stories that take place between episodes. Riverdale offers a bold, subversive take on Archie, Betty, Veronica, Josie & the Pussycats and their friends, exploring smalltown life and the darkness bubbling beneath the town’s wholesome facade. In this issue, we see Archie, Betty and Veronica all being dragged through hell… and you’ll never believe what challenges they’re about to face!
This premiere issue of Archie’s new Riverdale series has two stories inside it and some extras at the end. The artwork is fantastic and colorful. I still can’t get over how grown up Archie and all his friends look in the comics that have been coming out in recent years, including this one. It’s a slightly more adult telling of the Archie stories and is a bit darker too.
“Bloodsport”, the first story, is about Archie going through Hell Week for the Varsity football team and features some classic characters like Moose, Reggie and Jughead. “Bring it on”, the second story, is about Betty and the Hell Week she has to go through to be on the cheer-leading squad. We also see some classic characters here, including Betty’s best friend Veronica.
Both stories deal with how people handle loss of loved ones, one to honor them, the other to avenge them. It plays out in interesting ways through the two stories and will hopefully serve to bring other storylines into the picture in future issues.
The extras with this comic are super helpful, but I just wish they had put them up front for folks like me who have only seen one episode of Riverdale on The CW and don’t get all the complicated plot-lines and relationships going on. It would give us a head start before diving into the comic book based on the show. There is an excellent side-by-side primer on the TV show and the comic, explaining a lot of the backstory.
There are also several variant covers and ads for other comics based on individual characters like Jughead and Betty & Veronica that look interesting, but for now…I’ll keep to this new one. I wasn’t sure how dark would play with such light-hearted source material, but I’m willing to give it a chance after seeing this first issue.
Riverdale #1 is available April 5th, 2017.
Tai Freligh is a Los Angeles-based writer and can be found on Twitter.