Last issue I commented on how much this feels like an underground comic from the 60’s or 70’s, and this issue feels the same but it’s slightly more sanitised than those, but at the same time there’s something grubby about this. Some of it is good grubby but a lot feels, well, grubby.
As for the plot, this issue starts after a massive battle on the streets of Riverdale has seen long standing Archie characters die horribly and the town reduced in places to rubble. In the middle of it Jughead is wandering around in women’s clothes after acting as a decoy to lure out the Predator last issue. Then we’re treated to Dark and Gritty Jughead suffering from PTSD.
At this point this is either being played for high satire or straight. This is important because if it’s satire it’s not exactly working, but if it’s straight then this is like watching someone fall of a bike in front of a speeding bus.
So the remaining teenagers hide in Riverdale High School and at this point act like the kids from Archie Comics, rather than a bunch of kids that have seen their friends torn apart in front of them. I think it’s these awkward shifts in tone that cause me so many problems as they’re handled badly most of the time so when you get used to it sort of working as a horror comic, it shifts. Get used to it being an SF action comic, it shifts. A romance, comic, teen humour comic and on and on.
And then Jughead gets it…..
Archie goes completely Tonto, does his big angst ridden speech, and then Dilton shows everyone his Iron Man-esque suit he’s made that looks like Archie because he’s so desperate for a shag from Betty and/or Veronica that he thought he’d build something like this.
Yup, he’s built a Robot Archie, but not like the Robot Archie I grew up with, but after an elongated battle where the real Archie is wounded by the Predator, Dilton is killed and Betty and Veronica face being killed.
As said, I’m not sure how to take Archie versus Predator. I think the best thing to do is go ‘fuck it’ and treat it as satire because the alternatives are too terrible to contemplate.