cover image Archie, Vol. 1

Archie, Vol. 1

Mark Waid and Fiona Staples. Archie, $19.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-62738-867-2

There's a lot that's new about everybody's favorite freckled, love-tossed Riverdale teen in this contemporary relaunch. To start, Staples's (Saga) art is bright, snappy, and crisply dramatic, not to mention three-dimensional. Also, Riverdale High is as multiethnic and sharply attired as a CW series. Jughead sports ripped jeans and a goth pout, Veronica is a "jillionaire" reality-show star, and the whole thing is rated "Teen" for some barely risqu%C3%A9 innuendo and dialogue like "Oh, hell no." The writing from Waid (Kingdom Come) balances winsomely romantic (Archie says Betty "smells like flowers and motor oil") and honestly funny, like something that a PG-rated Kevin Smith could have pulled off. It would seem risky to mess with the tried-and-true Archie formula, but this heartfelt collection is less a tearing-down of the old order than an exuberant exploration of its possibilities. Staples and Waid keep the characters' foundations in place%E2%80%94Archie's still a lovable goof who can't decide between girl-next-door Betty and vampish Veronica%E2%80%94while building a wonderfully new Riverdale for them to explore. (Mar.)