The Archie comics line continues to expand, and with Archie 1941 they go into uncharted territory for America’s favorite teenager: World War II. Set in Riverdale at the beginnings of the conflict overseas, this new miniseries from writers Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn and artist Peter Krause puts a far more dramatic spin on the Archie universe than I was expecting, but in doing so, it creates a pretty compelling opening for this miniseries.
Archie, Jughead, Betty, and the rest of the Riverdale gang are all high school graduates, and more importantly, reaching adulthood. Yet Archie is having a hard time enjoying his Summer. From an overbearing father to the constant news of looming war overseas, it seems like the weight of the world is on Archie’s shoulders. Unsure of what to do with his life, and struggling to get a job, he starts to lash out in strange ways. When he reaches his eighteenth birthday, he realizes that he’s now able to enlist, but will he?
That’s the cliffhanger that Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn leave us with, and I have to say, it’s really compelling. I honestly thought this miniseries was just going to be an even more old-fashioned take on Archie, but I found it to be really moving in a way. Waid and Augustyn’s script focuses mainly on Archie and his struggles with what to do with his life, and that was surprisingly really relatable. We’ve all had those feelings of not knowing what to do with our lives, and seeing Archie struggle with that same question, while seeing newsreels about the war in Europe, adds to the drama of what Archie will do.
Naturally, with this being a series set in 1941, you’d expect the art to have a throwback style to it, and Peter Krause’s art definitely has that. But it’s also fairly modern as well, with a look that harkens back to some of old Marvel Mythos one-shots from the early 2000’s. With this kind of art style, there’s always the risk of the characters looking stiff, but somehow Krause is able to not only match the old timey art look, but make it look fluid as well.
Archie 1941 is certainly an interesting miniseries for the publisher to handle, and it’s a little surprising that they haven’t tackled this idea earlier. While I’d of course prefer that they focus more on getting Chilling Adventures of Sabrina out on time instead of producing new miniseries, when they’re this good I can let it slide