Consider the ante officially upped in ‘Archie Vs. Predator’ #2

archievspredator#2coverArchie Vs. Predator #2

Written by Alex de Campi

Pencils by Fernando Ruiz

Inks by Rich Koslowski

Colors by Jason Millet

Published by Dark Horse Comics

Now that we’re halfway through Archie Vs. Predator, it would make sense for pieces of the overarching plot to begin to take shape. If Archie Vs. Predator was a bad comic, it would fail to accomplish this task. If it was a good comic, it would already have done it and be content with itself. As it happens, Archie Vs. Predator is not simply a good or a bad comic, but an absolutely insane one. Our outdated notions of “quality” have no bearing on a comic such as this, and require a more in-depth analysis in order to fully understand its secrets.

archievspredatorpanel2The first issue, while fun and unique, felt very much like the prologue to a bigger and bolder story. The newest issue only cements that fact. Now that the Predator has been removed from the jungle and plopped right into Archie’s idyllic hometown of Riverdale, the real craziness begins. Without getting too much into spoiler territory, the Predator does what its name implies, and kills people. A lot of people. And not just nameless background characters, either, but long time franchise staples. De Campi makes use of the best kind of shock value, in a way that feels true to the idea of the Predator. However, it’s the depiction of such violence in the traditional Archie house style that makes the whole thing work. The juxtaposition of beloved Archie characters and bright red blood splatters is deliberately overdone to the point of hilarity, creating an environment where no one is safe. Looking past the gory violence, the humor of the book is also one of it’s strongest traits. From a subtle dig at Afterlife with Archie to a cameo by the star of Predator 2, topped off by Jughead in drag, script and art come together to make a book that just oozes fun.

However, there are some things worth noting. For a comic titled Archie Vs. Predator, America’s favorite teen somehow manages to feel more invisible than the Predator itself. In fact, once the full scope of what they’re dealing with comes to light, nearly everyone but Archie steps up in a big way to stop the Predator. In the grand scheme of things, it’s actually Betty Cooper that takes the stage, who after kicking off the bloody chain of events in the first issue, now actively seeks to right her wrongs and set right what she unleashed. While it is refreshing to see Betty take command of the situation, it’s just a shame that it took an alien hunter from beyond the stars killing all her friends to get her to this point.

With the story only half-over, and several cherished characters dead or about to die, there’s really no telling what Alex de Campi is going to do next. The difference in scale and action from issue #1 to issue #2 is dramatic, and if the rest of the series keeps ramping up the stakes like this, then this series is going to be long-remembered in the best way possible. At this rate, there won’t be a Riverdale left to save. Enjoy it while it lasts.

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