Archie vs Predator 4 provides the anticipated conclusion to the comical, bloody “vs. Predator” series of the Archie Comics (AC) and Dark Horse collaborative project. Sci-fi and horror fans (rightly) suspected that this particular mash up wouldn’t go very well for the Riverdale gang, unlike previous crossovers with KISS and other prominent figures. The creative forces behind this issue include writer Alex De Campi, penciller Fernando Ruiz, inker Rich Koslowski, and colorist Jason Millet. The cover artwork was done by Andrew Pepoy, though two variant covers are available. One variant is from artists Faith Erin Hicks and Cris Peter, and the other is from Joe Quinones. All three versions of this issue will be released July 22, 2015.
The basic premise of Archie vs Predator is that Archie and his friends traveled to Costa Rica for spring break. The gang soon attracts the interest of trophy-collecting Predator, and gore-infused hilarity ensues. The genres listed for the comic are “Action-Adventure, Humor, and Sci-fi” but with the amount of blood and gore featured “horror” would have been an obvious addition. Dark Horse is the current publisher for Predator comics, but this series is clearly more focused on the goings on of the victims than those specific to the alien trophy hunter.
This particular issue features the current survivors. As the tagline of the Pepoy cover suggests (“Frenemies no more!”) it is up to Betty and Veronica to try to put aside their differences to save one another and the rest of the remaining Riverdale crew. Archie begins the issue incapacitated, so he isn’t burdened with either the task of trying to save the girls or with trying to halt their bickering. The book is predictably full of the ladies taking cheap jabs at one another, Veronica playing the role of spoiled rich girl. Redeemingly, the issue also contains more fight scenes, blood, and explosions than I ever thought I would see in a title affiliated with The Archies. (After reading it, the comic obviously ended up on the Dark Horse publishing docket rather than that of AC for a reason.)
Overall Archie vs Predator #4 was an incredibly enjoyable comic. Horror fans who grew up reading the Archie comics AND watching Schwarzenegger battle the Predator will find entertainment value in how true De Campi remained to both the classic comic style as well as the Predator comic and film source material. Some artistic liberties are expected in crossovers as absurd as this one. But there are very few taken.
Although many of Betty and Veronica’s arguments were eye roll worthy, it didn’t detract from the entertainment value of the issue. The same logic seems to be applied not only to the original Archie issues (where the girls often stand idly by arguing while something more important is going on) but is also common amongst B-movie actresses who often get distracted by a lost shoe or cell phone when they should be focused on escaping the murderer who is hot on her heels.
Campy humor, violence, and plot twists are the themes for this thrilling horror-comedy comic which make it a must read for any horror fan who also enjoys Archie. Be sure to snag a copy when it becomes available July 22, 2015, and stay on the lookout for the next AC horror project: Archie vs. Sharknado.
Wicked Rating: 10/10