Reading that title is more than enough to get a kid of the ’80s or ’90s on board with this new outing from Dark Horse Comics. The Archie brand is no stranger to odd crossover comics in the course of its extended run. The Riverdale gang have had run-ins with The Punisher and the rock band KISS, just to name a few. Obviously the book is not written to be taken entirely seriously, but this does not mean it’s not worth while. Let’s take a look at Archie Vs. Predator #1.
It’s almost Spring Break in Riverdale, and the gang isn’t sure what they want to do to pass the week. While Jason and Cheryl taunt them with plans of yachting, Jughead wins a trip to an island resort for him and his friends. The trip starts off perfectly fine, and they wish on a shooting star for how they hope the trip will go. Too bad that shooting star is really an alien ship that crash-lands deep in the jungle on the island. The next day, while the gang decides to hold a fashion competition…for some reason…Cheryl and Jason land their yacht on the island and help instigate a fight between Betty and Veronica. Betty runs off into the Jungle upset and stumbles across an ancient temple. Unbeknownst to her, something is stalking her through the jungle. Inside she finds a dagger on a pedestal that she takes. The temple collapses and Betty finds her friends in the jungle looking for her, and decide it best to head home to Riverdale. The group does not, however, seem to notice the blood dripping from the trees (despite it dripping on all of them) as the alien hunter claims the skulls of Cheryl and Jason. The group heads back home, but it seems something is hitching a ride back in Veronica’s gigantic clothes trunk.
No one who picks up this book should expect it to be Shakespeare, but it definitely proves that the creative teams over at Dark Horse have fun with their jobs. The story Alex DeCampi built feels like a fanfiction, but there really would be no other way to combine two properties like America’s sweetheart Archie and a ruthless alien monster like the Predator without it feeling forced. For what they build the tone seems to shift from juvenile to adult and back several times, making the book fairly jarring in its presentation. The crew go from planning a day at the beach to Reggie planning referring to himself as a “gosh-darn sexual tyranasaur” and wishing to get to third base with Veronica. I’m not sure if this is something common in Archie these days; I don’t read their usual series, and I know that times change and am not against openly discussing sex with younger audiences, but I always thought Archie was the G-est of G rated. So for all I know this is added in due to the adult aspects added with the Predator property. The story is fun, and ridiculous, and all-around worth a read.
Fernando Ruiz’s artwork is the classic look of Archie that depicts friends that we have known for as long as we can remember. The Predator’s look finds a way to mix the cartoony aspect of the book while still keeping to the design Stan Winston created close to thirty years ago. It’s quite a shock to the system to see the violent sections akin to the alien hunter presented in such vibrant colors and childish tones. It’s also funny to see the few nods to the original Predator film, including the gang hanging out at Dutch’s Beach Bar while at the island resort, and seeing some familiar faces also hanging around the bar when the kids arrive.
Archie Vs. Predator is a match no one really asked for, but it is one that I am glad came around. While both major comic labels get ready for gigantic world-altering crossover events, it is always nice to have some ridiculous fun at the expense of two properties few would have matched up in a fever dream. I can’t wait for #2.
Looking forward to reading the rest of this series? Let us know in the comments below.