Review: Archie Vs. Predator – Archie Comics (Festival of Dread special)
When choosing what my first comic book review should be for our Festival of Dread, there really wasn’t any other choice other than this, Archie Vs. Predator. This 4-issue series is particularly special because it’s clearly the spiritual successor to my own book from 1995, Brady Bunch vs Predator.
Brady Bunch vs. Predator is already a world-renowned classic, having been read and celebrated by tens and tens of my public school classmates. It therefore makes perfect sense for Archie Comics to piggy-back off of my resounding success with their own Archie Vs. Predator.
Anyway, that’s enough talk about my own stellar work. I’d hate for my own success to overshadow Archie’s series. So let’s talk about Archie vs. Predator, keeping in mind that there are some mild story spoilers to follow, but I’ll be careful to not reveal too much…
I imagine that there are two kinds of people reading this review: those who think that a book called Archie Vs. Predator is a really stupid idea, and those who think that it sounds like one of the best ideas ever. If you haven’t already guessed it, I’m more in the second camp.
Before digging into the series, I didn’t think that the people at Archie Comics would actually allow for the creators to really let loose and threaten any of the core Archie characters, and I expected whatever death scenes were present would be depicted in a muted, or censored manner. Boy, was I wrong. Archie really took the gloves off when it came to killing core characters; a trip to Pop Tate’s diner in issue #2 quickly proves that point.
The story begins with Archie and his gang winning a trip to a tropical island for Spring Break. Everything seems normal enough while they are there, with typical teenage melodrama, and of course Archie himself humorously being unable to commit to a single girl.
Everything changes when Betty stumbles across a mysterious dagger in an ancient ruin, which is apparently cursed, or something. For some reason or another, this is the cue for the Predator to show up and start carving up kids. The story returns to Riverdale for issues two through four, which opens the door for so many more characters to get wasted as Yautja (Predator) fodder.
Things get really bizarre by the end, and I never really understood the connection between the ancient dagger and the Predator, or why the story really needed to introduce the idea of a curse in the first place. An Army soldier shows up and explains the Yautja’s back-story, which is consistent with the Predator movies and makes the dagger stuff even more confusing. This same soldier also reveals that the Predator in this particular story is a juvenile, and I’m not exactly sure why that matters, either. Reading through it a second time, I could fabricate my own reason why this was written this way, but it’s not really clear, and it seemed like a weird detail that the writer doesn’t do too much with.
The humor is is hit or miss, ranging from genuinely funny to eye-rolling (particularly Jughead). There are some humorous running gags, though, including Veronica constantly being drenched in blood. There’s also a girthy helping of Predator references which won’t go unnoticed by fans of the classic sci-fi films.
The artwork is by Fernando Ruiz, who has a lot of experience drawing Archie and his gang. Not being a long-time fan of the Archie comics myself, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I definitely didn’t expect what I got. The art is fairly dynamic and appropriately gruesome. It’s still in keeping with the classic Archie look, though, so there isn’t any hyper-realistic gore, but there are still buckets of blood when the situation calls for it. Copious, glorious, buckets… And like I mentioned above, when the story takes a turn for the more bizarre in issue 4, the artwork is more than able to keep up.
This is a very odd one to recommend blindly. If the premise of Archie vs. Predator is enough to interest you, then it’s likely that you’ll find something to enjoy here. If you’re looking for a well-crafted tale of horror and suspense, Archie vs. Predator is probably a “hard pass.” I personally wanted a bloodbath, and I got one, so I can’t complain.
Archie Vs. Predator was written by Alex de Campi and illustrated by Fernando Ruiz.
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