I grew up reading the “Archie” comics here and there. I won’t try and say I was a huge fan. More fan-adjacent. However, “Archie” was the first comics I was introduced to so it has a special place in my reading journey. Since the reboot of “Archie”, thanks in part to the show, Riverdale, the new “Archie” comics has been updated for a more modern audience.
This first volume starts off the best way it could; Archie breaks the fourth wall and gives us a personal introduction to the school and to the conflicts. This doesn’t last the entire volume, but it certainly does a great job at establishing the relaxed, friendly tone that readers of “Archie” will like. The main conflict in volume 1 is that Archie and Betty have just broken up, Archie is head-over-heels for newly arrived Veronica, and Jughead and Betty are trying to “save” Archie by splitting he and Veronica up. Simple, right?
What I appreciate about the this update is that the tone and the motivation behind the characters haven’t changed. Archie isn’t naive but he’s still clumsy and a caring friend. Betty isn’t your typical blonde, she can take care of herself, but she’s also caring in her own way. Jughead is cynnical, but much less of a dufus than I remember from classic “Archie”. Veronica is a spoiled-rich kid but she’s nobody’s fool. The element of the tone that’s been updated is that it all feels much less gimicky and slap-stick and much more real and relatable.
There’s also the surrounding characters that have been updated and give a modern feel to the “Archie” universe. There’s student of color, Muslim and Southern Asian students, and students who are LGBTQ. It’s a huge change from the white-washed earlier Archie iteration.
I’m enjoying the plot and the character development. Yes, they’re a fun read. But I also don’t feel like I’m losing brain cells with each page that goes by. I’m excited to see what future volumes have to offer.