One of the best parts of the Halloween season is that comic book companies amp up the output of spooky-based funny book fare, something at which Archie Comics consistently excels. The publisher’s latest offering is the fun and creeptacular Chilling Adventures Presents: Welcome to Riverdale #1, on sale now. From writer Amy Chase, artist Liana Kangas, colorist Ellie Wright, and letterer Jack Morelli, Welcome to Riverdale follows Ginger Snapp, who’s heard all about how idyllic the town is and visits to experience it for herself. However, after meeting up with Riverdale mainstays Veronica and Nancy, Ginger soon discovers that there’s a dark undercurrent to the surface perfection, something ominous that might make her visit one from which she’ll never return.
Some of the most unsettling horror tales tackle the nature of seeming perfection and employ allegory to comment its dark side. From The Stepford Wives to Children of the Damned, horror preaches how uniformity and conformity are not just unsettling, but unnatural. Welcome to Riverdale runs with that notion and tells a tale that is a slow burn of menace. Ginger knows that something about Riverdale is off almost immediately, and her suspicions only grow and are confirmed as the issue progresses, especially when it’s time to reflect–both figuratively and literally–on what’s going on in the town.
What the comic does so well is in its economy of storytelling. It tells a self-contained story in 22 pages that never feels rushed, but gives a payoff that was worth the read. Chase’s dialogue for the Riverdale citizens is just creepy enough without overplaying it, and I could look at Kangas’s linework all day. Wright’s color palette is equal parts bright and muted to play with the town’s outer appearance and inner secret, while Morelli’s lettering is some the most dynamic I’ve seen in a comic in quite some time.
Chilling Adventures Presents: Welcome to Riverdale #1 feels like a Twilight Zone episode in comic form, which is incredibly high praise. I’m anxious to read more from this team, whether it be horror or otherwise.
Chilling Adventures Presents: Welcome to Riverdale #1 is on sale now from Archie Comics.
From the official issue description:
When Ginger Snapp finds herself in the town of Riverdale, a town she’s fanatically read about growing up, she’s amazed by how wholesome and welcoming it truly is. But she can’t help but shake the uncanny valley-feeling she has with every new person she meets. How can everyone be THIS nice? And could the kindness drive someone to the brink of madness, if it hasn’t already? Explore toxic positivity gone horror in this one-shot that’s equal parts Pleasantville and The Stepford Wives.
Script: Amy ChaseArt: Liana Kangas, Ellie Wright, Jack Morelli Welcome to Riverdale ONE-SHOT CVR A Main Cover: Liana Kangas 32-page, full color comic