Published on July 23rd, 2015 | by Steven Roman
Review: Archie vs. Sharknado
He’s met the Punisher, been stalked by the Predator, and fought zombies, but somehow Archie Andrews, America’s oldest teenager, has managed to avoid “jumping the shark”—the Hollywood cliché that indicates a franchise has reached a point of such sheer stupidity that it can no longer be respected. (It comes from an infamous episode of the 1970s sitcom Happy Days, in which a waterskiing Fonzi literally jumped over a shark.) That all changed on July 22, 2015, when Archie jumped a whole busload of the aquatic killing machines in the one-shot crossover event special called Archie vs. Sharknado!
For those of you unfamiliar with the premise, it goes like this: In 2013, the SyFy Channel broadcast Sharknado, produced by The Asylum, a b-movie studio that had built its reputation on churning out such “mockbuster” classics as Snakes on a Train (knocking off Snakes on a Plane), Transmorphers (Transformers), I Am Omega (I Am Legend), The Day the Earth Stopped (The Day the Earth Stood Still), and, most recently, Avengers Grimm (Avengers: Age of Ultron and Once Upon a Time). The premise of Sharknado—a freak cyclone creates a waterspout that sucks up sharks from the Pacific Ocean and dumps them in Los Angeles—was so ludicrous it couldn’t be ignored, and became a ratings hit for SyFy. In true Hollywood fashion, its success spawned a sequel, 2014’s Sharknado 2: The Second One—in which a similar storm destroys Manhattan—that, in turn, led to the entire eastern seaboard getting assaulted in this year’s Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! But the story didn’t end there!
And so we have Archie vs. Sharknado, written by Sharknado series director Anthony C. Ferrante and illustrated by Archie-verse stalwarts Dan Parent and Rich Koslowski, available now from Archie Comics. Tying directly to the events of Sharknado 3 (currently airing on the SyFy Channel), AvS starts with Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge accompanying Ronnie’s father to Washington, DC—he for a meeting, they for a bit of sightseeing. It isn’t long, though, before storm clouds roll in, and the nation’s capital becomes the newest victim of nature’s unholy sharkpocalypse. From there, sharknadoes pop up everywhere along the east coast—including Riverdale, where Archie and his pals Jughead, Reggie, and Cheryl Blossom are forced to battle for their lives using whatever weapons they can gather. Archie wielding a chain saw is a sight to behold.
Given the classic, cartoony Archie art style used for this project—as opposed to Fiona Staples’s look for the rebooted Archie series, or Francesco Francavilla’s grindhouse style on Afterlife with Archie—the buckets of blood that are spilled and the brutal shark killing that’s depicted (muscle-head character Moose actually rips apart a shark with his bare hands) might come as a surprise to readers, especially kids. Not to mention that not every beloved Archie character makes it to the end of the story! But it’s worth it if only for the scenes of Jughead battling a shark for possession of Jug’s iconic metal crown, and Veronica using a crossbow to shoot flaming arrows at airborne predators, while Josie and the Pussycats sing “The Ballad of Sharknado” (also written by Ferrante).
Bottom line? To use an old joke about Reese’s peanut butter cups, Sharknado fans may or may not like Archie’s peanut butter getting in their shark chocolate (and vice versa), but if you’re curious about what such a crossover might be like, or how well it actually comes together, then definitely give Archie vs. Sharknado a try. Like the movies it’s now forever attached to, this one-shot is mindless fun, and never takes itself too seriously—and with all the doom and gloom of certain comic book movies *cough*Man of Steel*cough* is that such a bad thing? Besides, if you buy a copy, it’ll help pass the time until next year’s Sharknado 4: We’re Not Done Yet! (or whatever they wind up calling it; The Asylum has already announced a fourth movie) debuts on the SyFy Channel.
Archie vs. Sharknado
Written by Anthony C. Ferrante
Art by Dan Parent and Rich Koslowski
Main cover art by Dan Parent
Publisher: Archie Comics
48 pages • full-color
Now on sale