"Archie Vs. Predator" #1 is a gift from God himself. It knows exactly what it is, and readers should expect exactly what is promised in the title: Predator invading Riverdale and slowly hunting Archie and the gang down for sport. Writer Alex de Campi can probably be heard cackling like a mad scientist as she delivers these scripts, taking the things that make each franchise work and mashing them up against each other like a child who picked up two toys at random.
This comic book is ridiculous as hell and it leans on that fact with open, loving arms. That's not to say the actual execution is flawed; de Campi gives readers an Archie story that could have come directly from the Digest and it's enjoyable and funny. That the Predator sections work in this crossover is a testament to artists Fernando Ruiz and Rich Koslowski, who illustrate the story in classic Archie house style with Jason Millet's flat, bright colors until violence creeps into the script. Violence and dread act as a third dimension, bringing curved shadows and textures to the panels. They act as much like an invasion on this world as the alien visitor does itself.
The issue is heavier on the "A" than it is the "P," though, as de Campi uses the issue to establish a peppy reality. Her story is funny with good one liners and some slightly risque dialogue; all of it adds to a fantastic tower for the Predator to eventually invade and knock down. It's clear that de Campi knows these characters and what to do with them, and Ruiz and Koslowski turn in solid cartooning choices that are expressive and modern while still maintaining the known Archie style. It's actually a little disturbing how well the Predator winds up blending in to this world; the heads up display on the hunter's readouts is updated and it turns out that emojis are universal. Everyone gets a funny or disturbing character moment and the art team inserts plenty of gags in the art for the observant reader. The lettering work from veteran John Workman balances the bulk of the speech balloons well against the action in the scenes.
It's difficult to not love a book this silly. There was a lot of press surrounding it when the concept was first announced and it's satisfying to see the actual product is as entertaining as one would hope. De Campi seems to take joy in slowly playing out the scenario and readers should love how self aware and fun the entire package winds up being. There's even a bonus one-page strip that has two other characters from the Archie and Dark Horse worlds meeting for the first time, which is gorgeous and -- hopefully -- recurs through the remainder of the series. "Archie Vs. Predator" #1 takes a huge risk and it pays off incredibly well, resulting in a satisfying teen comedy horror story. Fans and rubberneckers alike will find something to enjoy in these pages. Here's hoping that this only leads to more weird collaborations between these two publishers.