This week on “Double A-Ron’s Comic Book Review” (working title), we have a special treat. Due to a request by one of our readers I will be doing two reviews today. Now this isn’t because of some monetary offering or special favor…but rather because I was genuinely interested in the requested comic. That comic would be Archie #702! Most people, wether they are into comics or not, have heard of Archie. He has been a part of the pop culture scene since 1941. Since then there have been various books and crossovers that feature the titular character. What may be a surprise to some though are there are many other characters born in “Archie Comics” that have gained their own level of popularity around the globe. Many of whom make an appearance in this book (to be revealed in the actual review).

The second book I will be reviewing is Vindication #1. This story looks to be a social commentary on wrongful imprisonment, but like most mysteries, not everything is quite what it seems.

Heres the review…

ARCHIE #702

“A mystery in Riverdale…Archie has a new girl…Josie & the Pussycats?! But it’s fun, real fun.”

STORY

There is a mystery to be solved and the police have a suspect. Meanwhile Archie has a new girlfriend and Betty & Veronica want to know who it is. Josie & the Pussycats make an appearance as well.

This book caught me totally by surprise. I expected a  generic story that would begin and end like Archie comics of old, but I was humbly proven wrong. While writing this, I still feel warm inside by how much this relatively uneventful story still kept me engaged. Everything flowed so naturally that I when I hit the last page, I was a bit sad that it was over. A bit. Since this book doesn’t have a ton of action like most comic books, it counts on the dialogue to keep you entertained, which it does quite effectively. The basic theme is cliche, but it is delivered to you in such a way that it feels refreshing. I am a fan of mysteries so I got to review this series at the right time. The story is quick, concise, and engaging. This makes the book a pleasure to read and I may consider getting a copy for myself for awhile. I enjoyed this story and I give it an 8 out of 10.

ART

I have to say, I am a fan of the Archie art of old, but this art is also decent. We live in a new time and Archie has to evolve as well. What i like most is the colors. Every character is clearly defined, most notably by their hair color. I was able to follow along with exactly who everyone was purely by this. I hadn’t picked up an Archie book since I was a kid, but the characters are still just about the same as I remembered. But, I have some complaints…

The art in the book is at times inconsistent. The art in the opening pages is sharp and detailed. Where as the latter pages are sometimes lazy and not symmetrical. Upon reviewing who the artist was, I noticed that the first four pages where done by one artist, and the all the other pages were done by someone else. I’m not sure  about the reasoning for this, but I’m not a fan. My other complaint, and it’s not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things, is that everyone is too pretty. I’m singling out Jughead specifically. In my recollection, Jughead had a long nose, and a quirky personality. In modern Archie, Jughead still has a unique personality, but the dude looks like a model wearing a funny hat. I understand that it is a more modern era and we have plastic surgery and stuff (is that canon to Archie maybe?), but apparently Riverdale is where all the beautiful people live. It takes a little bit away from the uniqueness of each character and makes me feel like I’m reading an episode of “the Hills” instead of the special characters from “Archie”. A small concern so it doesn’t affect the score much, I give the art a 6 out of 10.

CONCLUSION

Overall this book was well done. It’s weakness is certainly the art. Having two different artists cause two different feelings to arise in each part of the book. The story was still solid though and the art did its job in moving the story along. I’ve had time to think while writing and I will probably sneak a peak at the next issue, whenever it comes out. If you want to have a pleasant reading experience, with a tad bit of nostalgia, I suggest you jump into, or back into, “Archie”. Thanks a lot Tom!

 

Here is the second title…

VINDICATION

“Another Murder…another mystery…crooked cops…and social commentary. What could go wrong?”

STORY

I don’t normally like to get involved politics and sociology injustice, but with the current political climate and general state of the world, these topics are pretty much unavoidable. Politics and social issues have been a mainstay of the comic book industry virtually from its inception, so it’s to be expected that eventually we would get a comic book tackling wrongful incrimination and imprisonment. The problem is though, by the end of the book, we don’t know exactly if the character who was wrongfully imprisoned, is actually innocent at all.

In this book the main character is not the man who needs vindication, but rather the angry cop who imprisoned him. I actually really enjoy this point of view and am interested how events will unfold in future issues. This story is a typical murder mystery and places you in the story after the events have already unfolded. By the end of the issue, your still not exactly sure how the crime happened or who was the person who was killed (name only). In a strange turn of events our wrongfully imprisoned individual is unknowingly being accused of another crime and all the evidence points to him truly being a criminal after all.

I’m not really sure how to feel about this book. I like the ideas, I love the twist and turns, and the perspective the story is being told in. But, I’m left with more questions than answers. What exactly did our criminal do? Why was he the suspect? Wait! Before we solve that mystery here is another? These things could very well turn into a good story, but I feel like the author will need a long time to tell it. Personally I don’t like to commit to a story that is gonna end up being more than 10 issues. That being said, the story is interesting, if it picks up and gets more action in it, this could be a great script for a movie. The story is interesting so it gets a 7 out of 10.

ART

The art in this one is not exactly eye popping, but it’s dark and detailed, which fits the narrative perfectly. No bright colors, but translates the new-noir genre that this story fits into. I really have no complaints about the art in this book. The art is consistent, sharp, detailed when it needs to be and when it doesn’t. I give the art a out of 10.

CONCLUSION

Overall I enjoyed this book. The story is pretty good, the art translates the vibe and theme of the book, and I’m interested in the events to come. The issue here is, that there are a lot of questions to be answered. Even now after reading I’m still asking myself, “What did I actually learn in this issue?” I may need to re-read it and bring a notebook to keep track of all the information. If your willing to put in the time and work, this book is awesome. I just don’t feel I can commit to the very long story I feel it’s about to tell.

 

Well that’s all for this week. I hope you enjoyed reading this review. Disagree with my take, then please like and comment on our Facebook post and let’s have a conversation about it. Or better yet, stop by Game Over Comics in Lahaina, HI, and come check out the books yourself. Peace!