Reggie and Me #1
Story: Tom DeFalco
Art: Sandy Jarrell
Coloring: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Tom DeFalco is a lot of things. He’s the Marvel Editor-in-Chief with the fourth longest run, exceeded only by Stan Lee, Jim Shooter, and Joe Quesada. He had the unfortunate fate of having to follow up Walt Simonson’s epic run on Thor. But what a lot of people don’t know is that he got his start at Archie Comics back in the early ’70’s. This mini-series’ inaugural issue marks the return of DeFalco to the writer’s seat. Needless to say, my expectations were very high. As a Cold War kid, DeFalco defined much of my formative years as a comic book reader, along with the likes of Wolfman, Greunwald, and Simonson.
Reggie and Me is a highly introspective treatise on the psyche and makeup of the mind of one Reggie Mantle, resident bad-boy of Riverdale. In the opener, we are quickly oriented around the notion that the narrator is going to be Reggie’s dog, Vader. As I get past the first page or two, it’s a shtick that I worry is going to be a distraction. It is sometimes hard enough to settle down and get into an Archie comic book after reading all the action-adventure stuff that forms the bulk of my pull-list every week.
But…I was pretty amped to read another comic by “Two-Fisted” Tom DeFalco. I mean, another, as in I had not read a comic by DeFalco since sometime in the late 1980’s, most likely. Reggie and Me has some interesting bits, and it’s a decent opening issue for what is supposed to be a 5-part limited series. But I was expecting a bit more in terms of intrigue. Reggie and Me makes a ton of allusions. On the surface, Reggie just comes off as a bit of a spoiled brat. Like many of the kids in Riverdale, he comes from decent money, but has a number of mommy-daddy issues that make for an interesting cocktail. While most of Reggie’s hi-jinx seem to have a limit on how harmful they could be, there are some more sinister nuances at play here. Reggie is the type of person who could grow up to become a mass murderer. His need to get back at people is driven by a high-tendency to feel slighted at the most meager thing; a pettiness that scratches at the edges of being more than just comedy. The fact that he then proceeds to enact his revenge in incredibly meticulous plots is disturbing if you allow yourself to think about it for a minute. And, yes, the dog was distracting.
On art, things are pretty pedestrian as well. Do not get me wrong; this is an entirely serviceable and enjoyable issue. It’s just that nothing in the art blew me away. And maybe that is part of the art. There is a certain inexactness that has to inherently go along with an Archie Comic. It is supposed to look more like a cartoon than anything approaching ultra-realism. So clothes do not move; they are just kind of pinned to the body. There are some nice touches in the shading of Reggie’s jacket, so that at least did stand out to me. Other cartoony effects are some of the single whispy strands of Reggie’s hair that stand out, if you catch them in a few panels. Solid work, but just not particularly remarkable.
Despite my relative malaise with this issue overall, I am going to stick with the mini-series to see where it goes. The creative team and the general work at Archie Comics has earned enough of my faith that I am willing to give it a second or third issue to see if it surprises me. For fans who are into Archie Comics, this one should hit you straight in the belly as it’s sort of like Sinestro getting his own comic. For comic readers who tepidly dip their toes into this kind of content as a reprieve from capes, westerns, war, romance, thriller, and horror comics, I cannot say it’s quite time to check this one out. We’ll let you know in a month if it’s safe to test the waters.