Alex de Campi, Fernando Ruiz, Rich Koslowski, Jason Miller
Dark Horse/Archie Comics, $19.99
The “record shattering number” of Archie comics I buy this year continues to increase, as I now dive into the strange and wonderful world of Archie crossovers!
As I’ve mentioned in my Jughead reviews, I’ve never been much of an Archie guy. However, I’m a definitely the type of guy who’s into the Predator franchise, to the point where I’ve seen both Alien Vs Predator films in theaters on my own accord. You throw a Predator into something and you have my attention, especially when it comes to weird as hell crossovers.
I’ve never championed for an Archie Vs Predator crossover, but who am I to tell Dark Horse and Archie comics how to do business. The 4 issue mini-series is now collected in a nice hard cover, which I have purchased and will tell you about today. Please note that it’s also available in soft covered trade as well, but the hardcover comes with more extras and looks nicer on your bookshelf or coffee table in my opinion. Written by Alex de Campi and drawn in the traditional, pre-reboot Archie style by Fernando Ruiz, this crossover pits Archie and the gang against one of the deadliest killing machines in the galaxy, and team Archie fares as well as you think they would in this scenario. It is fun stuff, assuming your definition of fun is watching fictional #TEENS getting their heads torn off, which SPOILERS, happens a lot in this book.
Alex DeCampi definitely had a blast writing this book, which you can tell from the dialogue. A lot of the classic Predator lines show up in this book, but refitted for Archie Gang. Which means you get to see Reggie call himself a “Gosh-Darn Sexual Tyrannosaur”, which is great, followed up by Jughead dropping the winner of the 2015 Sickest Burn witnessed by a Chris Troy. Much like the modern Classic Archie Vs Punisher (which gets a brief and welcomed reference in this mini), the whole thing is played straight, but cranked up to 11.
Let it be known that seeing Sabrina the Teenage Witch fall victim to a Mortal Kombat-esque fatality is SUPER JARRING when drawn in that traditional Archie style. Fernando Ruiz is fantastic on this book, channeling classic Archie while exposing them to modern terror. Everything looks so on model, even the Archie-ified Predator. Granted it feels a bit like a step back after seeing Erica Henderson and Fiona Staples work their magic on the Archie books, the book’s humor works all the better thanks to going old school. Ruzi, along with inker Rich Koslowski, and colorist Jason Miller give the reader some truly gruesome art, but it comes off more as hilarious than it does as ultra-violent thanks to the cartoony tone and style. It’s kind of the best.
Aside from the 4 issue mini-series, you get several other back up stories including team ups between other Archie and Dark Horse characters (Hellboy and Sabrina!), a cover gallery, a forward and afterword, and a page breakdown. For $20 its a nice collection of material that justifies spending the extra money. The story itself is wonderful, the back up material is solid and the quality of the packaging is superb. If you have an interest in any of these characters, or just like well produced and weird comics, Archie Vs Predator is worth your time in any format.