Archie vs. Predator #1 (of 4)
Dark Horse Comics
Story: Alex de Campi
Pencils: Fernando Ruiz
Inks: Rich Koslowski
Colors: Jason Millet
Letters: John Workman
Above Cover: Eric Powell
Archie Comics has had many a crossover and genre change over the years and for the most part they've each been fun in their own right. The most "violent" I can recall (zombies aside) is Archie Meets the Punisher. With a somewhat similar feel but with gore and violence dialed way up this time around, it is clear that the partnership with Dark Horse Comics is bringing another fresh spin on the Riverdale characters as well as providing another tale of a badass character that everyone appreciates, Alex de Campi has written some instant grindhouse classics for Dark Horse in the past including Bee Vixens From Mars, Slay Ride, Flesh Feast, Prison Ship Antares, and more. Her style of writing matches this type of story very well and she uses gore/violence as a prop to add to the campy fun. Fernando Ruiz has been making Archie his own through his vibrant, lively art for a while now. His resume of titles starring this classic character is long and understandably so. In this series he proves that he can drawer far more than the innocence of youth, adding a surprising edge to de Campi's story.
In a Tayto-Chips sweepstakes Jughead has won a free vacation for him and the gang to Los Perdidos. The jungle island gives the characters a chance to relax, participate in some fashion contest fun, and explore the lush landscape. After a "shooting star" is seen by all, the fun that everyone was having now hides a threat. One thing leads to another and Archie and his friends end up heading back to Riverdale, unaware that a hunter is on their trail.
De Campi presents us with characters that are true to their innocent Riverdale roots and puts them in a situation that they would never believe they were in (and probably won't until it is too late). Each of the Riverdale folk have a personality that carries over from the typical Archie Comics and though there isn't much speaking on the part of the Predator, she gives him a personality through fun "text" boxes. This book is wrote as a fun "you just missed him", blissful ignorance scenario that is going to continue with an enjoyable plot and a good chunk of shock along the way.
Fernando Ruiz brings a change to both, the style that Predator is typically presented in as well as the content people have come to expect from Archie. The character models, while typical of the franchise, go through numerous costume changes depending on their locale, each to be a fun reminder of the americana roots of the series. Predator, though in the enjoyable filter applied by Ruiz, is still presented in a very threatening light. With all of the weaponry we have come to know and love from the gladiatorial alien, we get to see some violence that is truly shocking, approached by a scene that is illustrated hilariously. Rich Koslowski, another Archie alum, further accentuates the charm of these characters in this offbeat story, along side Jason Millet's wide range colors.
This is a great first issue to combine these two properties. Instead of getting speedily thrust into a series that could be rushed, the team takes the time to concentrate on the characters personalities while having the Predator be a background force. Between the pacing, the personality, the humor, and the imminent threat, Archie vs. Predator is off to a killer start, and the escalation of the situation is bound to be a blast! The first issue of this mini came out on 4/15 and costs $3.99! Join the fun!