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the Archies: Issue 2 (Archie Comics)

Words: Matt Rosenberg & Alex Segura Pictures: Joe Eisma Colours: Matt Herms Letters: Jack Morelli

A wiser man than me once told us that It’s a Long Way to the Top if You Wanna Rock N Roll.

This second issue of the 2017 reincarnation of Archie’s bubblegum pop act works that well worn groove as Archie and friends set out to make out a name for themselves as a touring band.

The story of this second issue (or third if you count the One Shot Zero special) follows the familiar road trip format as Archie gets the band back together again (for the first time).

Riverdale’s favourite son hits the road with Jughead (Drums), Reggie (Bass), Veronica (Keys and Backing Vox) and Betty (Tambourine and Backing Vox) and sets off on a cross country road trip to to California in search of gigs, fortune and fame.

5 inexperienced musicians, travelling cross country in a clapped out old minivan searching for that elusive big break.  I mean what could possibly go wrong?

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Archie Mastermind (and recently appointed Co-President) coordinator another fresh addition to the ever expanding nuArchie universe.  The script and dialogue which he and new Punisher scribe Matt Rosenberg have crafted are energetic, fast paced and fun.  Noticeably the writers manage to avoid that common pitfall of using tokenistic, outdated or straight up incorrect references to contemporary dialogue, fashion or music. The characters seem real and genuine or as real as they can to me, a near 40 year old suburban father.

Archie’s fourth wall breaking narration drives the plot forward as he details the bands wins and woes successes and struggles as they criss-cross the country from Riverdale to the City of Angels with only the promise of a support slot to inspire them.

This continuity light approach of the Archie line continues with this series as there are no real times to the main Mark Waid Archie “reboot” book.

All the core characters play true to form, Archie is enthusiastic and honest, Reggie is narcissistic and self-absorbed, Betty is hard working and earnest, Veronica seeks to spend her way out of every problem using her father’s seemingly endless wealth and Jughead, well he’s just your friendly neighbourhood hamburger enthusiast.

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The story pairs perfectly with the art by Eisma, Herms and Morelli.  Line work and inks are clean and clear without being simplistic and cartoonish. Colours are vibrant and vital investing the whole people with life and energy.

The musical sequences are vibrant and kinetic without venturing into the surreal and fantastic of Sophie Campbell’s amazing work on the IDW’s Jem and the Holograms.

What does the band sound like? Well I actually don’t know.  The 90s kid in me is certain that they sound likea perfect blend of Indie Brit Pop of bands like Belle and Sebastian, Pulp or Blur.  But I’m not Keiron Gillen and this isn’t Phonogram.  You fill in the blanks, whatever your particular jam is that’s what the band is.

Nearly 3 years into its reboot and rebirth nuArchie shows no sign of slowing down and few signs of missing a step.  As some who didn’t really “get” classic Archie I continue to be impressed by everything I’ve read in the last 2 years, whether it’s the main Archie series, the surreal zaniness of Jughead or the supernatural horror of Afterlife with Archie or the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

The Archies is another great addition to the ever expanding nuArchie cannon. It’s a fun accessible and easy read for anyone who’s ever held a guitar and dreamed big or gazed from the cheap seats at their favourite musician and wondered What If….

The Archies number 2 is available at your friendly neighbourhood LCS or online from Comixology or the Archie store.