Thursday, June 6, 2024

Comics Review: "ARCHIE & FRIENDS Blockbuster Movies #1" Plays Pocketpool with Deadpool


STORY: Ian Flynn; Dan Parent
PENCILS: Steve Butler; Dan Parent
INKS: Lily Butler; Rick Koslowski
COLORS: Glenn Whitmore
LETTERS: Jack Morelli
EDITORS: Jamie Lee Rotante; Vincent Lovallo; Stephen Oswald
EiC: Mike Pellerito
COVER: Steve Butler and Lily Butler with Rosario “Tito” Pe┼ła
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (July 2024); on sale in comic book shops June 5, 2024

Rating: All-Ages

“Blockbuster Blowout”

Eternal high school student and teenage boy, Archie Andrews, and his friends made their debut in M.L.J. Magazines' Pep Comics #22 (cover dated: December 1941), and before long, Archie was the publisher's headliner character.  In 1946, the company changed its named to Archie Comic Publications, also known as “Archie Comics.”

Archie Comics published the series, Archie & Friends, from 1992 to 2012 for 159 issues.  Since 2019, Archie has been publishing a new iteration of Archie & Friends as a series of themed one-shot comic books.  The latest is Archie & Friends (Blockbuster Movies) No.1, the eighteenth issue in the series.  It features one new five-page story and one reprint story.  Entitled “Blockbuster Blowout,” the new story introduces the character, “PoolNoodle the Backstroke,” a parody of Marvel Comics' “Deadpool” and, to a lesser extent, DC Comics' Deathstroke the Terminator.  The story is written by Ian Flynn; drawn by Steve Butler (pencils) and Lily Butler (inks); colored by Glenn Whitmore; and lettered by the great Jack Morelli.

Archie and the Gang in “Blockbuster Blowout”:
Archie’s summer movie fantasies are about to get out of control,  You may have heard of Deadpool, so get ready for PoolNoodle.  This new character's first appearance, however, may be his last as he takes on a big-budget, crossover, multimedia crossover film.

Luckily, Archie is back as the superhero, “Pureheart the Powerful.”  Can the duo save an afternoon at the theater?  This story guest-stars The Crusaders, Cosmo, Josie and the Pussycats, and many more.

THE LOWDOWN:   For several years, Archie's marketing department has been sending me PDF copies of some of their titles for review.  One of the most recent is Archie & Friends Blockbuster Movies, (which is titled Archie & Friends, No. 1 (#18), in the indicia).

The things about superhero movies that “Blockbuster Blowout” mocks are also the frequent targets of social media snark, and the latter is funnier.  As for PoolNoodle, I think he could really be funny in his own one-shot comic book.  I generally like the Archie Comics work of writer Ian Flynn, but “Blockbuster Blowout” does not have much spark.  However, it is good to see the pencil art of Steven Butler, and Butler should definitely be drawing more superhero comic books.

This one-shot comic book's sole reprint story is “There's No Place Like... Riverdale,” which was originally published in Betty and Veronica Comics Digest Magazine #188 (cover dated: December 2008).  The story references L. Frank Baum's classic children's novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), but its story beats correlate with the book's most famous film adaptation, MGM's 1939 musical fantasy film, The Wizard of Oz.  As adaptations of this story go, this story is rather entertaining and cute.  It has the readers following Betty and her cat, Caramel, on their adventures through Oz.

I grew up on classic-style Archie Comics.  So, there is something comforting about seeing Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead taking in a movie together, as they do in “Blockbuster Blowout.”  I will always recommend classic-style Archie titles, so I am giving Archie & Friends Blockbuster Movies a hearty recommendation.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of classic-style Archie Comics will want to find a copy of Archie & Friends Blockbuster Movies.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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