Review: Archie Meets KISS

Archie Meets Kiss

There are few things harder to pass up than the adventures of Archie and the gang. Now take those hijinks, add Kiss and you have something no true comic book geek could walk away from. Archie #627 kicks off a four-issue story arc where the gang must team up with Kiss to battle monsters that have come through a dimensional wormhole in order to make the town of Riverdale lame. I know, it sounds stupid and in any other series it would be. In the world of Archie though, it works. This isn’t as good as when the Punisher came to Riverdale, but it’s pretty frickin cool.

The story opens just before Halloween. The Riverdale Monster Society has called a meeting in order for Sabrina the Teenage Witch to cast a spell keeping bad things out during the festivities. Writer Alex Segura does a great job of keeping the right tone for an Archie comic. For example, there is no irony or cynicism about a group of teenagers having a monster club, that’s what clean-cut American kids do in Riverdale.

Segura’s take on the gang is right on point as well. Veronica’s a bitch, Reggie’s a jerk, Jughead cracks wise, Betty is sweet, Dilton is smart and Archie is the everyman we root for. When Veronica’s spoiled brat ways play havoc with Sabrina’s spell, these lame monsters show up and turn the folks in Riverdale into mindless zombies. Not scary flesh eating zombies, more like a town filled with sleepwalkers.

Stepping up to battle these monsters is Kiss, who appear through the wormhole and declare that they will beat the creatures with their greatest weapon, rock! How can you argue with a comic that actually has Kiss stating their intention to defeat evil through rock n roll? You can’t. It’s just too awesome to not be in love with. Issue 627 lays most of the groundwork for the mini-series; I’m guessing the next issue will have more rock action. I’m hoping by the end of the series the Archies are dressed like Kiss and joining the band on a duet of "God Of Thunder" or "Cold Gin."

I applaud the two pop culture touchstones that Segura hits. It’s clear this whole thing is a nod to the films Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park and Monster Squad. As with the former, Kiss are super powered rock beings. The Demon (Gene Simmons) can breathe fire, just as he could in the film and on stage during the band’s hey day. In the original Monster Squad, a group of kids with a monster club accidentally unleash monsters on their town. Segura isn’t ripping anything off; he’s just taking two awesome slices of pop culture and meshing them with a comic series that is also a cultural tent pole.  This could only work with Archie. Kiss teaming up with Wolverine, Batman or suddenly appearing in The Walking Dead would be laughable.

The art from Dan Parent is very much in the vein of the modern Archie. I won’t lie, as an old school fan I miss the '60s era artwork, but it would seem out of place here. Parent keeps most of the gang true to their look, save for Sabrina. He makes her really sexy for a kid’s comic. I don’t mind the teenage witch prancing around in a schoolgirl outfit with thigh high stockings, but it’s a bit risqué for Archie comics. If you’re too jaded or too “cool” to see why Archie meeting Kiss rocks, then don’t bother buying this issue. If you can get over yourself enough to have a good time, you’ll be amped on Archie #627.