ARCHIE #627 (Archie Comics):
You have to hand it to Alex Segura. He was able to get me to do something I never thought I’d do: buy an Archie comic. I’m not trying to down Archie. I’ve just never been a fan of the characters. However, I am a fan of the band KISS. So when I heard that the Greatest Band in all the Land would be meeting up with the kids from Riverdale in Archie #627, I had to give it a shot.
The story itself is entertaining. Issue 627, titled Archie Meets KISS, is the first part of a four-part story, so thankfully, Segura decided to pace his story out instead of trying to wrap things up in 22 pages. In a nutshell, the gang from Riverdale cast a spell to protect the town from monsters, but they wind up unleashing those very same monsters. Luckily, the KISS members in their on-stage personas, the Demon, Starchild, Spaceman, and Catman, track the monsters down to stop them. What I liked best about the story is that, while completely unexpected, the appearance of the group didn’t seem forced. Sure, the entire idea behind the plot is ludicrous, but KISS showing up just felt natural in the scheme of things.
This story is directed at two very distinct fanbases; fans of Archie and fans of KISS. While I loved the issue, I don’t foresee a wide range of comic book fans gravitating to it. Granted, the storyline is bound to sell a buttload of copies because of the KISS brand (which I can attest to from a non-comics collecting friend who was frothing at the mouth to get a copy), which, no matter how you slice it, is a good thing for the industry. I would, however, recommend the issue to anyone who is looking for a change of pace. Since I mostly stick to superhero comics, an issue of Archie, KISS related or not, was a breath of fresh air. -Michael Wirth
FABLES #111 (Vertigo):
Inherit The Wind concludes with the revelation of a new North Wind! Winter, one of Snow White and Bigby’s daughters, finds her way to a desolate, snow-covered world where the box containing her grand-father, the former North Wind, and Mister Dark is being held. Before she can open it Bellflower, former Totenkinder, and her husband Dunster Happ, explain that the box contains something best left contained, and after some introductions they all leave the area and return to North Wind’s castle. Upon returning to the castle, it’s announced that Winter is to be the new North Wind, which angers her brother Darien. It seems Ozma’s prophecy is starting to come true, which sadly means that one of the children is going to die! Meanwhile, in the Land of OZ, specifically the Emerald City, Buffkin is being held prisoner and is set to be executed. Things are looking bad for the former flying monkey and his rebellion, especially when the noose is around his neck and the hangman pulls the lever! We see him drop just as the issue ends, talk about leaving readers hanging! 111 issues and Fables is still one of the best books being published today! -Skott Jimenez
FF #12 (Marvel):
Straying a little bit from the normal art we’ve seen in the title, this issue-after-the-big-one is a solid point of entry. It seems funny for me to say that with Hickman trailing such a rich history of his take on Marvel’s “First Family” behind this issue. But the fact of the matter is that going into this read with a decent knowledge of the kids and that the Future Foundation was formed is really all you need to know. Hickman does a good job of catching you up. Reed’s father from the future is in town and telling his granddaughter what she needs to know to be prepared. An alternate reality Reed is planning something bad and has Doom in tow. There is big trouble at the Baxter Building in New York, and they need to get back. I think this is great! Also, it’s important to mention that Hickman handles the split of the title very well at this point. FF is actually following the Future Foundation, whereas Fantastic Four is going to be following the key players that we have always thought of as the “Four.” In essence, Hickman has created another writing job for himself… and if you add the backstory of S.H.I.E.L.D. in there, we may be seeing the perfect trifecta. -The Andy Kirby
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #4 (IDW):
It’s Raph and Casey Jones versus Old Hob, the mutant cat, and his gang! Through flashbacks, we learn that Hob has made a deal with the chemical company where Splinter and the turtles came from to bring them back for study because they certainly can’t get more Mutagen from… General Krang? Well, during the big fight the rest of the turtles arrive and we have a family reunion during a fight! Hob tries to convince Raph that his brothers abandoned him, but it doesn’t seem to work as Raph unloads on Hob, nearly killing him. If not for the intervention of Leo he probably would have, but cooler heads prevail and the old cat gets away to fight another day.
Raph and the others return to the sewer and complete their reunion with Splinter.
It’s a nice building of all the pieces that have made this franchise so interesting over the years. All the parts are coming together nicely, and this series is, I have to admit, far more entertaining than I ever expected it to be. I figured I’d be dropping it after the second issue, but now I’m planning to stick with this for the long haul! -Skott Jimenez