Archie vs. Predator II #1 opens where the original miniseries left off - with nearly everyone dead and the town of Riverdale in ruins. Best buds (and sometimes frenemies) Betty and Veronica have made it through the fray, along with a lovelorn Predator who's now an Archie look-a-like thanks to a mysterious sci-fi surgical machine. With their lives and town left in tatters, the trio begin a rather meta-search for "memory lane," which has supposedly allowed Archie (and others?) to return previously from alternate timelines to the Riverdale they know and love.
When it comes to de Campi's script for Archie vs. Predator II, the biggest surprise is how far of a departure the sequel is from the original miniseries. While the original meeting of Riverdale's red head and one ugly mother@#$%er from space was full of dark, gory camp, Archie vs. Predator II starts off as a bizarre, absurdist, and off-the-wall quest for a return to normalcy in a world that has none left to offer. The first issue sees such wackiness as characters breaking the fourth wall, a Twilight Zone-like phenomenon preventing individuals from leaving Riverdale, an alien dog urinating on the Mars rover, and our cast of characters confronted with mirror versions of themselves from an alternate timeline. Some fans still sore from the franchise's last cinematic outing may take issue with inclusions from Shane Black's The Predator, but, much like the first time around, I’d be remiss not to praise both Dark Horse Comics and Archie Comics for their bold and awesome approach to this bizarre comic book blessing that, frankly, shouldn't exist.
As comic book news website Bleeding Cool recently pointed out, when it comes to the artwork in the book, Archie vs. Predator II drops the classic "DeCarlo" look that artist Fernando Ruiz used for the original crossover, with artist Robert Hack bringing a more gritty and less cartoon-ish style to the book, closer to something like his work on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (now popularized by that artwork's use in the opening credits of Netflix's Sabrina TV series). The change in style suits the change in tone by de Campi's script and grounds the story with a darker, more dangerous tone.
FINAL VERDICT: Those who dug the original Archie vs. Predator comic are in for a treat with this sequel series! While it's got its own unique flavor, Archie vs. Predator II will surely satisfy those looking for their crossover fix and hungering for those sequential art stories that are outlandish, abnormal, and a bit unhinged. One recommendation: Don't start here! If you're interested in taking this wild ride, be sure to pick up the first volume of Archie vs. Predator and dive in properly!
You can find out more about Archie vs. Predator by visiting the Archie Comics website. The first issue is now available!
Be sure an check out Fanbase Press' review of the original Archie vs. Predator, as well:
'ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR #1:' - ADVANCE COMIC BOOK REVIEW
Creative Team: Alex DeCampi (writer), Robert Hack, Kelly Fitzpatrick, and Jack Morelli (art team)
Variant Covers: Rick Burchett, Derek Charm, Francesco Francavilla, Dan Parent, Billy Tucci
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Click here to purchase.