As someone who’s knowledge and experience of Archie begins and ends with vague recollections of this. I might not be the best person for this review, or maybe I am? I don’t know as I genuinely lack any kind context for what Archie is supposed to be, other than the story of two girls who really fancy this one ginger kid who refuses to choose between them. It’s this reason why I’ve never really given Archie a shot but now that he’s got zombies I’m there and so this is how the end of the review begins…..
On the border between Rivendale and Greendale (I assume this is where they can go college once they finally finish high school) a not so typical day in the life of Rivendales favourite teens comes to an end. Turns out that Archie comics also own the rights to a nineties tv show I am actual familiar with and so when the dog of Jughead Jones is hit by a car he takes it straight away to the house of witches on the hill. Though they try their best it seems poor ‘Hot Dog’ the dog is too far gone and they can do nothing but offer him a cup of camomile tea and send him on his way. However this isn’t enough for one Sabrina Spellman. Oh classic Sabrina, a problem comes up in her life so she uses magic to try and solve it, it all back fires and she ends up learning an important lesson about growing up and responsibility or something. Let’s see how it goes shall we?
She sneaks out of the house later on instructing Jughead to bring his dead dog to be buried by the flowing river. Here she reads aloud from the Necronomicon and brings Hot Dog back as a murderous hell best who starts a zombie apocalypse. Meanwhile she is caught by her aunts who turn into terrifying skeletal creatures who bound her, strip her ability to speak Matrix style and send her off, powerless, for a year in a alternative dimension, still I bet Salem had something witty and sassy to say.
Anyway this is how the zombie apocalypse begins with a boy missing his dog. It returns to him a slobbering creature that promptly bites him. He gets a sick day or two out of this before he shambles out of the house looking for brains, but not before infecting both his parents. So now we have three zombies trailing around town, though it’s not said what actually happens to his mother. Instead Jughead goes to the Halloween dance where of course people mistake his look for a cool costume until he devours someone in front of them. Doing the only logical course of action when confronted by someone eating their friends who reanimate, twice, and also try to devour them they lock Jughead in the locker room and run to the sweet mansion on the edge of town for a pool party. No joke.
Because the book is called escape from Rivendell it is perhaps not too surprising that they will eventually have to get out of dodge but I don’t know where to. I mean Greendale does have experience with this sort of thing still that’s not the only character they currently have the rights too, maybe they’ll go ask Sonic or Mega Man for help?
In truth I’m not sure how seriously to take this book, I mean I’m sure there is some tongue in cheek motion going on here I’m just not sure how much. For starters there is the love for Archie felt by not one, not two but three women and not in any passing meh kind of way either which is weird because he doesn’t seem all that hot or super into them in return. He doesn’t seem to particularly lead them on or anything and yet they are almost literally fighting over him. Is this normal for the comics, I don’t know, nor do I particularly care. But some of the lines do read like a parody of the series thus far, like him promising he will be waffling for the next seventy years. But beyond that there are moments that seem to be reaching for dark apocalypse like a child on a claw machine. Like Jason and Cheryl Blossom, who I can only assume are actual Archie characters, twins if I guess right, who are Lannister close, not to say that she doesn’t want Archie as well as her brother just he gets top billing.
The book tries a little too hard to tug on the emotional string sometimes in a way that I’m not suspecting is simply for long time fans of the Archie books. For instance Archie has a dog called Vegas, at least in this story he does and we get a hefty backstory for the dog, told in flashback to set up what happens in the story, not for plot but simply for emotional weight. I get that they want to sell us on this zombie apocalypse but there is such a thing as over egging the pudding. Like the apocalypse itself. What seems like a few hours after the first real incident, when the gang have retreated to the overly fortified mansion and already the phone lines are down, rioting is taking place and word has reached the president who is already planning to quarantine the town with the plan for extermination. Still as I said this could be part of the black humour of the book and I’m simply not smart enough to pick up on this satire.
Still the art work is decent and I’m kind of interested to see where they take the story next. What with them facing genuine magical zombies I hope they buck a few of the current zombie trends to keep the readers on their toes.