Comic: "The Punisher Meets Archie"
Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Batton Lash
Artist: John Buscema (Punisher), Stan Goldberg (Archie)
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Plot: The Punisher pursues a dangerous criminal to the sleepy town of Riverdale. Once there, he discovers that the villain in question bears a striking resemblance to Archibald "Archie" Andrews, a local boy who just wants to know why a certain homicidal vigilante wants his head.
Review: Two titans of the comic book world meet at last on the field of battle! Two men enter, only one man leaves! Who will be victorious: the gun-toting vigilante who is currently waging a one-man war on crime, or the orange-haired kid who is constantly getting into all sorts of Happy Days-style mischief?
The book opens with an introduction explaining how the idea came about, how it evolved from a silly notion to a silly comic. The idea of taking Archie and putting him in a grim, modern setting was quickly rejected, but then the idea came of taking the Punisher and putting him in an innocuous Archie storyline, albeit one with slightly more violence.
And thatís what you have with this book: A combination of the two styles that tends to favor the Archie side of things. The most notable example of this combination is the use of two different arts styles. The story opens with the Punisher depicted in his usual gritty art style, but once the story moves to Riverdale, youíll see the simple, newspaper comic art associated with Archie Comics. Artist John Buscema does a few panels, but for the most part, heís mainly in charge of drawing The Punisher, his assistant Microchip, and their van. Personally, I think the juxtaposition of the two different art styles did not reflect favorably on the fairly plain-looking Archie. Archie fans must read the comic for its gripping storylines instead.
Apart from the two art styles, the other thing that stands out is the lack of killing. It starts with the Punisher trying to bring in the main villain of the story alive as part of a deal with the FBI. During the course of the chase, the Punisher encounters other thugs who are after both him and said villain, and these gang members narrowly escape the fate reserved for all Punisher villains first when one claims that the bullets whizzing past their heads are ďwarning shotsĒ, and then later when Microchip convinces the normally strategic-minded Punisher that letting them go will lead them right to the other bad guys. There are a few other artful dodges like this to keep things from becoming too intense, but it is implied that a few of the thugs are eventually shot, albeit off-camera and in a way that apparently doesnít upset anyone present during the actual shooting.
Even given all this, it is a fairly entertaining story. Fans of the MAX series arenít likely to be impressed, but as far as one-off non-canon crossovers go, this one does pretty well. I wasnít an Archie fan before I read it, and Iím not one now, but itís still an amusing story. In retrospect, itís odd to see how, years after this comic came out, The Punisher has undergone numerous revisions to make his stories seem more compelling and interesting, whereas Archie has remained just as plain and anachronistic as ever. Maybe Archie is just waiting for the right hero tie-in to drag him out of the 50s. Possibly a superhero with time traveling powers.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
oh man how come they haven't made a live-action Archie movie, get with it film producers
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