In Review: Archie vs. Predator #3

There's a new B.M.O.C. at Riverdale High and he's not letting anyone get in his way.

The covers: Three covers to hunt down for this issue. The Standard cover is by Gisele with Maria Victoria Robado and it’s the funny cover for this installment. The iconic cover image of Archie and his best girls in Pop’s sipping on a shake has been changed ever so slightly by substituting the Predator for Veronica Lodge. The alien looks incredibly pleased to be participating in the cool treat, while Archie’s eyes have doubled in surprise, and Betty just looks startled. It’s a funny cover and is a good image to promote this series. The A Variant cover is by Paul Pope with Shay Plummer and it’s an odd composition. Front and center is a motorcycle with the Predator sitting (Okay, standing) on it, holding one of his wrist blades high. To his right is Archie looking upset, and to the left are Betty and Veronica looking turned on. There’s no background, save a rusty sunset or sunrise, and a desert surface. I have no idea why this vehicle was chosen and don’t understand how the teens are supposed to relate to the Predator. It looks fine, but is made up of some odd elements. The B Variant is the one I purchased because it’s drawn by Kelley Jones with coloring by Michelle Madsen. I’m a huge fan of both of these creators, so it had to be bought. This image is shown from the point of view looking down from the top of a tree, where a Predator crouches with the skull of Jughead Jones at his feet. Below him, making their way through the forest, are Archie and the girls. Andrews has a flashlight to assist them in the dark woods. This will not end well. This is a classic Predator pose and location, with the addition of the trio for a humorous spin. Overall grades: Main A, A C, and B A+

The story: In the city of Riverdale, one figure makes his way through the carnage of the streets that occurred last issue. Jughead makes his way to the high school and catches his foot on a trip wire. A baseball bat embedded with nails goes swinging at his head, which he narrowly avoids. His friends come out from hiding spots thinking they have caught the Predator, but see that it’s Mr. Jones. He tells them that everyone outside is dead. Horrified, they all voice what they think should be done, with Jughead saying that the killing will continue until the Predator kills Veronica. This upsets Archie, but Jughead says, “My friends…Moose…Kevin…Chuck…even Midge…I’m wearing all that’s left of them.” Archie says they should just wait for the police, but Dilton, using his tablet, finds that the entire force has been wiped out. Three of the girls decide to venture out on their own, leaving only five survivors: Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, and Dilton. This book has got the expected violence that matches that of the previous issues, with two characters going down hard, but with something unbelievable appearing on Page 14. Something is shown that had me just cracking up, without this item doing anything yet. The reason for why this object is used is hilarious and justifies the entire history of one character. Alex de Campi continues to create funny and horrifying scenes that are entertaining. The last three pages made me laugh out loud and then gasp at a character’s demise. I really enjoyed this. Overall grade: A+

The art: Mirroring the style of classic Archie Comics, Fernando Ruiz provides pencils and Rich Koslowski provides inks. Watching Jughead make his way through the destroyed streets of Riverdale is a wonderfully disquieting experience, which only kicks into overdrive when the deadly baseball bat swings his way. If one were unaware of previous events, the next three pages look as though they could be in any Archie book. Only when some blood drips from the ceiling and a heat vision point of view is encountered does a reader realize that this is not the typical Archie experience. Page 8 is a wonderful splash page that exemplifies the two characters shown, but also has its roots in classic modern horror films — The reader doesn’t need to see what’s about to occur, because the end result is obvious. Page 10 is graphic, yet funny, and reminds me of the doodles I and my friends would make on classwork during boring lectures. I like how all the characters look, with Dilton being a particular stand out due to his lack of pupils. It makes him look ultra-smart and further separates them from the other teens. Page 14 begins the heavy humor through a sensational visual character. There’s a long action sequence between the creature and the kids and it’s pretty exciting, with Pages 17 and 19 being particularly strong. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Jason Millet puts some really bright colors into this book to capture the flavor of the Archie line of books, and it works amazingly well even when the Predator is on the pages. The dark corridors of Riverdale High use a variety of grays to make the halls dim but not opaque. I really like that each character is brightly colored during these scenes to have them stand out from the setting. When Dilton uses his tablet the colors are bright, as they should be on an electronic device. The Predator’s blood has the same luminescent quality it has in the films and his heat vision has the same hot to cold emanations. Backgrounds go reds, yellows, or oranges when fighting occurs, and the sounds are spectacularly strong in the same color scheme. Millet completes the classic feeling of this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Narration, dialogue, sounds, yells, and next issue’s tease are all brought to life by John Workman. The sounds are amazing on this book, and there are many of them, and Archie’s loud wail on 10 is the strongest utterance in the book. Overall grade: A+

The final line: There’s a new B.M.O.C. at Riverdale High and he’s not letting anyone get in his way. Hilariously disturbing and entertaining. Absolutely recommended. Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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