Predator

Archie vs Predator issue #4 review

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Script: Alex de Campi
Pencils: Fernando Ruiz
Inks: Rich Koslowski
Colours: Jason Millet

This Cover: Faith Erin Hicks variant cover 

The bad idea was relying on boys to do things for us. Boys never do anything right.” – Veronica Lodge

Issue #3 left Betty, Veronica and Archie in grave danger – face-to-face with the Predator. Dilton’s Archie-bot invention malfunctioned leaving Archie in peril – not like things were going well to begin with. Nearly all of their friends are dead and the end of Riverdale seems to be looming overhead. Things really did not look bright for the heroes.

The predator leaves the three kids alone, but not without the hunter seemingly called Veronica by Betty’s name. But clearly Predator is catching on to things, and he might even have a crush on Riverdale’s most popular blonde. With Archie pretty much left incapacitated, the two ladies need to join together to win. There is, of course, still that looming jaguar dagger curse left to finish off. But of course, the two struggle to work together. Betty doesn’t believe they have a hope without Archie, and Veronica is ready to take her destiny into her own hands.

“If I’m going to die, you can bet it’s going to be in couture.”

The girls can’t bare to live without their Archie so they hook him up to one of Veronica’s father’s machines. Of course Veronica being a supreme woman of science, she turns the dial up to 11 – much beyond the suggested level of 4. “Veronica Lodge ain’t got time to read.” What does this machine do? Who needs explanations? No one, and it’s best if you laugh instead of asking questions.

But before they head into the panic room that was installed by Veronica’s father, the two girls attempt to take on the predator themselves. This is where things go south pretty damn fast. But would it really be a Predator book if there wasn’t intense and gross violence?

Also, there is a scene that I HAVE to mention where the predator is wearing Betty’s lucky scrunchie. Um. This is probably the best part in the entire series. If not, it at least sums up this whole cross-over in one panel: utterly insane.

But will the kids make it out alive? Well, things definitely don’t go to plan. The ending is so weird. So wonderful. So off-the-wall. So zany. There really couldn’t be any other way to end it (and there will be no spoilers here – the ending is so worth reading yourself).

This particular variant cover was one that I was really looking forward to since the day I first saw a preview of it on Dark Horse’s website. Faith Erin Hicks (The Last of Us) did an amazing job. The great covers and variants were half of the fun buying this series. Dancing Predator has me pissing myself every time I look at this cover. Poor Archie.

There are a lot of mashups out there right now. Probably too many, and a majority of them are really awful and/or completely unnecessary, but AvP is a bit cheekier and smarter than many of its counterparts. Alex de Campi’s writing is SO on point with this issue. There were several moments that were pretty damn hilarious (if brutal over-the-top violence is your thing), and as usual, she made plenty of remarks about the relationship of the two teenage girls.

Archie vs Predator was a great short series. Was it really one of the best things to come out this year? Well, probably not. But it was worth a read. The writing was really great throughout. The covers and art were above and beyond. If b-movie or slasher horror if a delight to you or you enjoy watching worlds collide, this is definitely a series to check out. And who really would pass up a chance to see two icons on the page together? If you would, then well – you’re no friend of mine.

Missed out on buying the series? Can’t be bothered to look for back issues? Still want in on the fun?  The Archie vs Predator deluxe hardcover will be on sale at comic book stores on November 4th.

Archie vs Predator issue #3 review

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Script: Alex de Campi
Pencils: Fernando Ruiz
Inks: Rich Koslowski
Colours: Jason Millet

Cover: Gisele with Maria Victoria Robado

“More victims! More mutilations! MORE MILKSHAKES!”

Riverdale is doomed. Or it certainly seems like it will be in issue three of Dark Horse’s Archie vs Predator series.

Archie and his pals are still on the run from the elusive predator, and not too many of them left. Their plan to destroy the creature didn’t go as planned, leaving all of Riverdale’s best muscle scattered in the once-quaint streets. Issue #3 opens with Jughead rejoining the team, still dressed as the Veronica decoy. He has to deliver the bad news, which brings out some of the most Archie-esque banter of the series.

The group splits, not wanting to be around the certainly-doomed Veronica behind, leaving only the core group of characters left. Certainly they will all survive, right? Unfortunately, unlike last issue where it seemed uncertain who could survive, readers know no one will. What was shocking before felt a bit repetitive this time around. Being bored watching classic, beloved characters die probably wasn’t the goal.

The trip to the AV room goes pretty much as expected, minus one trick left up Dilton’s sleeve. But with the Predator fast approaching, someone needs to stand up as the ultimate hero of the series. Last review, Betty was the queen of taking control while Archie acted like a massive dolt. But de Campi brought the best out in him this issue, as he was finally becoming the hero he is often seen as in the original comics. This is called AvP for a reason.

The art is delightful as ever. The cover by Maria Victoria Robado and Gisele is so good. The delightful juxtaposition of an iconic Archie look with the horrific predator just about sums up the entire feel of the comic. Balancing the line between an all-out bloodfest and keeping the fun appeal of the characters has to be tough, but the creators have found a balance that has really led to a fun almost b-movie camp type of entertainment.

So far this series has been a lot of fun. It doesn’t take itself too seriously because it really can’t – its so silly and sometimes brutally gruesome. It isn’t better than Afterlife with Archie, but it could never be. Thankfully it never tries to be. But there is plenty of action sure to come with next month’s issue. The fate of our heroes is not certain, but one thing is: the conclusion is sure to be one hell of a ride.

Archie vs Predator #4 is out July 15.

Archie vs Predator issue #2 review

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Archie vs Predator #2 of 4

Script: Alex de Campi
Pencils: Fernando Ruiz
Inks: Rich Koslowski
Colours: Jason Millet
Cover: Dan Parent with Jason Millet

The first issue of Archie vs Predator played like a regular Archie comic in many ways: the usual cast of characters, the silly plot device (a bag of chips) and the usual predator. Okay, so a looming alien hunter is probably a slightly unusual visitor to Riverdale. But while the first issue held suspense for blissfully unaware teens, this issue let’s all Hell break loose.

The kids think they are returning back to Riverdale and normalcy, but the predator is on their trail. All this mayhem and bad luck is mostly Betty’s fault, as she stole the jaguar knife and cursed half the ladies in her high school. She and Veronica seek out a familiar name for some magical assistance. Actually, this series should be Betty vs Predator because this girl is kicking ass and leading the entire plot. This seems very typical of de Campi’s work (which is always twisted and fun).

Everything about this issue is both brutal and balmy. This series continues on being the best of each, even during the major battle scene at the end. Just beware: do not to read while eating because things can get pretty grim here. But the deaths are pretty fun and entertaining. These awful killings are great juxtapositions compared to the pleasant lives they though they were returning to in Riverdale.

Despite this heightened level of gore and violence, this will probably still appeal more to Archie fans than Predator ones. The motive for the juvenile specimen, when it is revealed, is bound to be more silly than sinister. But for those who love both – Archie vs Predator is a massive success. This issue really amped up the action that is bound to be a nice set-up for the last two issues.

As a side note, there are so many great variant covers for this series, it’s so difficult to choose every time I’m in the shop – though I have tended to go with the Archie-looking ones because they’re utterly hilarious.

Archie vs Predator #3 is out June 17th.

Archie vs Predator issue #1

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Archie vs Predator Issue 1 of 4

Script: Alex de Campi
Pencils: Fernando Ruiz
Inks: Rich Kolsowski
Colours: Jason Millet

“Beach games… Party games…. The most dangerous game!”

There are many unlikely pairings that go well together: grilled cheese and jam, Archie and the Predator? Indeed.

Archie and his high school pals have been through a lot of make-overs in the past decade under the rule of Dark Horse. Readers have traveled the afterlife with Archie and even witnessed his death. But this journey may be a little different than the others. This time the group must evade the predator.

The first issues opens with the usual cast of characters gathered outside Riverdale High discussing their plans for spring break. Tubing and the outlet mall are so over done. But before anyone can say “camping” Jughead wins a luxury beach vacation, courtesy of Tayto-Chips.

The gang sets off together to Los Perdidos Resort. As soon as they land, Veronica begins to whine about being bored, clearly unaware of the title for the comic. That night everyone spots what they believe is a shooting star, but is actually an extraterrestrial hunter landing his spaceship. The kids are way too distracted by waffles and popularity fashion shows to realise that they are likely to be the next target for the teeth-face fiend.

Cheryl and Jason aren’t too far away as they are cruising on their own yacht (that cool and still no friends). They stay close enough to make sure they can stir up enough trouble.

And trouble they get.

Cheryl makes sure Betty wins the fashion show, ruining Veronica’s bet at being voted Best Dressed for the yearbook. A girl fight ensues, ending in move of Veronica’s fist to Betty’s nose. The blonde runs off in tears and a broken heart (over Archie. Again. Of course). She comes across a cave that was made to be a shrine for the jaguar goddess. Unknown to her, a dagger from the shrine gets stuck in her skirt.

The kids have enough and head back to Riverdale where they decide home is always the best place to be. But Veronica’s luggage is certainly a lot heavier on the trip home.

Archie vs Predator plays on several themes. In many ways, the comic evokes a sort of 80s slasher vibe. The audience catches a glimpse at the alien, but the teenagers continue on blissfully unaware of the danger lurking around them. Like the 1987 movie, the teens move around the jungle not knowing they are being stalked by an invisible alien with thermal imaging.

Alex di Campi (Grindhouse) once again captures the a distinct style with her writing. She keeps the dialogue silly and light while letting the art take on an increasingly tense mood. The dynamic between the characters is over-the-top silly. Everything from the fashion show to the wishing on a star/spaceship is so ridiculous, but if the Predator has anything to do with it, things won’t stay that happy for long.

There’s definitely a healthy string of ‘vs’ movies: Alien vs Predator and Freddy vs Jason being the prime examples. Archie vs Predator is different in a few ways. The films make a level playing field. In this comic, it seems a small chance that all the kids will make it out alive. This target seems almost laughably easy for the Predator.

The hunter has just arrived in Riverdale with Archie and his friends blissfully unaware. Can they keep their wits about and hormones under control to survive?

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