Riverdale #1 Review

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Posted April 5, 2017 by Jideobi Siphen in Comic Books

Written by: Will Ewing & Michael Grassi

Art by: Joe Eisma & Andre Szymanowicz

Publisher: Archie Comics

The Riverdale one-shot last month was a good taste of what we can get out of bringing stories from The CW to the comics. One thing I always appreciate about taking advantage of different mediums is that each form can bring new depth that you might not be able to get from the others. The one-shot gave us a solid introduction to a number of our main cast who could use that introduction as to what they were doing the summer before the events of the show took place. As they say the Riverdale comic offers a bold, subversive take on Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Josie & the Pussycats, and their friends.

For Riverdale #1 we have two different stories. Bloodsport is one of the two and takes us through life as a football player in Riverdale. In the show we learned that this team like any other comes with some cliches as well as imperfections. Sure we know that Archie was good enough to move up to varsity alongside Reggie and Moose, but there had to still be more to that climb. This story lives up to the name Bloodsport because high school football has the tendency to be more than just what happens on the field. High school is high school which always comes with some complications.

From the name of the second story, it was easy to guess what this would center around being called Bring it On. A story that takes focuses on all the shenanigans the cheerleaders get into. Just like the trouble that comes with being a football player, you expected the same here as there are many things the show doesn’t focus on beyond these characters simply being on the teams. If you’ve enjoyed this take on Betty, then you definitely find favor in what she goes through in order to cement her place on the cheerleader squad. Its empowering and strengthening of the character she has been so far. Not only this but enforcing of the relationship she and Veronica have built in order to be able to stand up to the likes of Cheryl. This was exploration that gave you more than the show was able to and that made this a worthwhile story to tell.

With what we take out of Bloodsport and Bring it On, they definitely stayed true to what we could look forward to from these stories. I wouldn’t pick up Riverdale if it was a book where I’m reading the same things I watched. They took full advantage here of the things in the show that we simply don’t have the time to explore. Maybe more down the line, but right now there’s more than enough to follow and the comics pick up the slack.

When I saw that Joe Eisma would be the artist for Riverdale, I was excited because this is someone used to drawing stories like this. If you’ve read Morning Glories then you know what I mean. There was no disappointment at all when he was able to capture the same energy of the show through this book. With Bloodsport you could take in some of the darker elements that came with the football team not being so friendly. From the show we were opened to this team that objectified women, and played into the stereotype of how they treat others and each other. Eisma nailed that intensity from Archie’s perspective because things seemed a little too comfortable for him. Then when it came to Bring it On, they got everything right about the way Betty carries herself as she steps outside of her comfort zone to keep her place on the squad. Not only this but the core strength of this bond developed between Betty and Veronica. Establishing those connections between the way Veronica interacts with her in comparison to Polly was touching. Andre Szymanowicz also nails his choice in colors primarily through the way he sets the tone for these stories. This can be dark, it can also be bright, and he didn’t overdo it once to really make that statement.

Riverdale #1 is where you need to be if you’re looking for all around investment in the direction they have taken the world of Riverdale on The CW. Like any other book like this, don’t look at it as if you need to read the book to get the show, see it as what you will want to follow if you care about the little things which shape the world around these characters.


About the Author

Jideobi Siphen