YOUR PAL ARCHIE #1 by TY TEMPLETON and DAN PARENT
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
The first issue delivers on the promise of updating the series while still managing to capture the feel of a classic ARCHIE comic. Nothing is sacrificed, and everything is gained.
87 %
Endearing high school antics
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Feeling that RIVERDALE drought? Just need more of the wholesome Riverdale gang? Well line up at your nearest supermarket checkout — it’s time for an all-new ARCHIE miniseries! From the creative minds of writer/inker Ty Templeton and penciler Dan Parent comes YOUR PAL ARCHIE #1. This new title creatively melds modern-day aesthetics with the humorous storytelling that made Archie Andrews a household name.

Smells Like Teen Spirit

In the first of two stories in YOUR PAL ARCHIE #1, Jughead wants to finally get his driver’s license. Unfortunately, he has no talent for it: Jughead constantly drives off the road and into various mailboxes and buildings that “came out of nowhere.” Fortunately for Jughead, his pal Archie graciously donates his time and car to this endeavor. Which proves as futile as the driving school instructors made it out to be. Though, the ensuing shenanigans of Archie trying to teach Jughead to drive prove themselves as some of the funniest banter in this issue.

This story brought me right back to learning how to drive a stick shift. I remember feeling the same frustration Jughead expressed, especially when the instructors (or in my case, my dad) would attempt to explain how this skill is so simple. Yet, in fact, it’s not. Of course, I never drove off the road and nearly obliterated my teacher. However, that slapstick comedy finds itself a home in YOUR PAL ARCHIE #1. Both Archie and Jughead go completely cartoonish with their arguing and horrible driving as they tear throughout town. I found myself laughing both at their dialogue and ridiculously horrible driving skills. In the end, it’s probably best for everyone in Riverdale if Jughead stuck to what he does best: eating burgers.

YOUR PAL ARCHIE #1
Courtesy of Archie Comics

The second story in YOUR PAL ARCHIE #1 focuses more on Archie’s endearing attempts to woo Veronica. It turns out that she has opera tickets, but instead of taking Archie, she’s taking another, richer boy. However, this fact does not stop him from trying. At first, Jughead buys him a lottery ticket, yet Archie wants immediate results. So he decides to compose his own opera to show how much he cares for Veronica. He even managed to recruit the help of his parents as he read the plot summaries of operas off the back of their records.

WATCH: Curious about how RIVERDALE handles serious topics? Watch INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY to find out why they won’t directly state abortion!

I loved this. Seeing how earnestly Archie tries to understand Veronica’s life made me root for him, while still laughing at his inability to grasp the nuances of the opera. For example, he manages to figure out operas include Vikings, barbers, and marriage, yet he fails to grasp that not all of these operas have that plot, and it goes a touch bit deeper than that. I’m personally surprised he didn’t figure out most of these are sung in Italian. It’s nothing profound or deep, but it’s entirely Archie through and through.

New Looks For Well-Known Characters? A Teenage Dream!

While I can’t speak from personal experience or knowledge, it appears that part of being an Archie Comics illustrator is balancing one’s own style while maintaining the “look” of the issue. I feel like Parent does, for the most part, a very good job of mixing his own impression of the characters with the classic Archie style.

YOUR PAL ARCHIE #1
Courtesy of Archie Comics

 

Jughead sports a slacker-esque chin beard that surprisingly suits the lackadaisical character. I really enjoyed seeing this design with the Depression Era cap the character is known for. It just felt like a beautiful melding of worlds that the modern-day ARCHIE comics are known for. Archie’s design was equally pleasing, even if it felt at times he channeled magazine models a bit too much. That mostly came with his updated hairstyle. His hair has the sides shaved off while the top’s overgrown in a floppy fashion. Personally, I’m not a fan of it outside of comics, so there’s an inherent bias. Despite this very small complaint about Archie’s hair, the art harkens to the older comics while still appearing as it’s beautiful own thing.

READ: Need to catch up on Archie? Read our review of ARCHIE #3!

A Colorful Cast

Templeton’s color choice is extraordinary. He captures the palate of the older ARCHIE comics yet, like everything else about this miniseries, updates it. There’s a certain vibrancy to the otherwise plain solid blues and reds that normally proliferate throughout these comics. You can easily tell which characters are which by the color palettes they embody, Jughead’s being in more muted purples and blacks while Archie has a lot more red and blue in him. Speaking of distinction, Betty and Veronica finally look like separate individuals instead of identical twins with different hair colors. This is a big leap forward for the franchise as a whole.

Final Thoughts on YOUR PAL ARCHIE #1

Overall, the charm of Archie pulses throughout YOUR PAL ARCHIE #1. Templeton and Parent know what makes these stories great: charming characters with a lot of heart. This miniseries helps update the Archie Universe to the modern day, but not to the point where it’s all dark and serious like many other reimaginings. YOUR PAL ARCHIE #1 does all this and more with a hilarious first issue that promises many more laughs with the ones to follow.

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