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Today’s post carries on this week’s theme of  Free Comic Book Day 2016, with a review of Archie Comic’s giveaway, Archie FCBD Edition #1.

Ahoy! Here be !!!SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOILERS!!!  If you have picked up this book and not read it, don’t read this yet.

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This issue is a reprint of the first issue of the new Archie series by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples. And that’s ok, because this is a really good issue. Archie introduces the reader to the world of Riverdale. He talks directly to the reader while the background goes on around him. It’s a device that is reminiscent of a movie or tv show. The upcoming Riverdale tv show should be so lucky to do an introduction as effective as this.

Over the course of the story, it becomes apparent that Archie and Betty have recently broke up. No one in the school though, knows why. Like most high schools, rumors and innuendo swirl around as their classmates try to figure out what happened. Jughead even withstands bribes in the form of sweets from his peers in an effort to get to the truth of the “Lipstick Incident.”

The only issue I have with this issue is a scene where Archie performs at the Homecoming dance. Archie gets on stage and plays guitar with the band. At first his notes are dissonant, but then strengthen to what we assume is perfect. The problem is that this is a comic book and the reader can’t hear the music. The biggest flaw in the medium of comics is the lack of sound. Now, this is of course, not the creators’ fault. Visually, they go out of their way to show the notes straightening out and presumably, getting better. However, considering the way things turn around for Archie in this moment, it seems to be an important development for his character. Therefore, an action that may have been easier to communicate in a comic book may have been more appropriate.

Keep in mind this is a small complaint for a really good story. Waid and Staples have reimagined and updated Riverdale High School in a way that makes it relevant again. That’s a sentence I never thought I would write in my lifetime.

The backup story is a preview of Jughead’s new solo title. It starts off as a typical day for Jughead and Archie. Once they reach school they come across Betty protesting to save a local forest. Later, they are told that Principal Weatherbee is being forced into early retirement and has been replaced. Jughead takes all of this in stride until it is revealed that the new principal has replaced the school lunch menu with gruel. Finally, there is something for Jughead to protest. The shock of this causes him to pass out and slip into a Game of Thrones-esque dream that mirrors the events that are happening in real life.

Probably my biggest question about the Archie reboot is why the hell didn’t they change Jughead’s hat? I’ve never seen one of these in real life. The only times I have come across them in pop culture is Goober Pyle, and Jeff Goldblum playing a rapist in Death Wish.

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Yes, kids love Goober.

Guess what? I just found out these things are called Whoopee caps. They were made from fedoras in the 20’s and 30’s. I now know more about these dumb things than I ever wanted to. You know how the kids are always listening to Spotify and instagraming pics of them in their Whoopee caps? Yeah, me neither. BTW, my grandparents were born in the 20’s and 30’s. That means the generation before them would have been doing this. Add another generation in there and you get the gap of the target Archie audience and when these things were popular.

I’m sure there had to be some level of debate about this in the Archie offices, but c’mon. What’s wrong with a nice sock cap? At least people know what the hell those are. The buttons (?) are gone though. At least I think they were buttons, I was never clear on that. So, baby steps I guess with updating Jughead’s head gear?

All together though this is a really good issue that gets you interested in the new Archie series. Which is pretty much the point. You don’t need to know anything about the history of Archie and Riverdale so it works for new readers. It’s pretty effective as a Free Comic Book Day freebie.

Tomorrow, another review of a Free Comic Book Day comic book. Hopefully with less infuriating headwear.

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