Kevin Keller’s first issue cover released

Archie is still moving full speed ahead with plans to give Kevin Keller (Riverdale’s new gay youth) his own stand-alone comic. As such, they’ve just released images of Kevin’s first-issue cover (and its variant cover):

Kevin Keller #1Kevin Keller #1 (variant)

The variant cover’s a parody of old Archie title “Everything’s Archie” (named after the theme song to the original late 60s animated series).

The regular cover is unusual for an Archie comic, which usually have a very traditional and rigidly set layout design for their comic covers. Ironically, the variant is a better example of a standard Archie cover.

And as Bleeding Cool notes, this makes Archie the only mainstream publisher with a regular comic starring a gay male character. DC, of course, has Batwoman in her own monthly comic.

Comic review: Life With Archie #14

Life With Archie #14Life With Archie #14

Written by: Paul Kupperberg (both stories)
Art by: Fernando Ruiz (Veronica), Pat and Tim Kennedy (Betty)

Remember how I’ve been hoping that they’d soon advance (or resolve) the plot points about Mr. Lodge, Dilton Doiley, and the multiverse side of things? Looks like they’ve decided to do just that, in spades… plus threw out a few new plot points!

Despite the Christmas themed cover, this issue takes place around Halloween. In the “Veronica” universe, Ronnie is still separated from Archie, and to try to get over this, throws an over-the-top Halloween party for everyone (except her husband). Meanwhile, in the “Betty” universe, Jughead is throwing a Halloween shindig at the Chocklit Shoppe. Archie (in each universe) has dressed up like King Arthur for Halloween (though “Veronica”‘s Archie has no particular party to go to). In “Veronica,” Archie wanders by Memory Lane, and runs into his old friend Ambrose (who he hasn’t seen in years). Ambrose, however, leaves Archie with some cryptic remarks about the nature of their childhood imaginary (or not-so-imaginary) adventures, and then vanishes, leaving Archie puzzled… and accidentally wandering into the “Betty” reality! After some confusion, he soon finds himself back in the “Veronica” one.

Over in “Veronica,” Archie shows Ambrose the old theater he thinks should be turned into the Riverdale branch of Ambrose’s club, which Ambrose agrees to. Afterwards, Archie changes into his Halloween costume, and walks Ambrose back to his car, parked near Memory Lane. Ambrose asks Archie to “keep an open mind” no matter what happens in the next few weeks (hmm…). After this, Archie somehow crosses over into the “Veronica” reality, and (after similar confusion as before), returns to his own world. Watching *both* Archies in all this, however, is a disguised Dilton, who gathers an impromptu meeting of both Hiram Lodges. Dilton warns the Lodges about the barriers of reality breaking down, resulting in Archie’s reality-hopping above. “Crisis on Infinite Earth-Archies?”

Despite the focus on the fantastical side of things, a few other plot points are touched on. In “Veronica,” Chuck and Nancy’s relationship is showing signs of strain; Midge and Jughead’s relationship is also stalled. In “Betty,” more heavy hints of what’s likely to happen for Midge and Jughead are shown (though not a surprise to anyone that read the original “Wedding” storyline, or who’s seen a soap opera).

I assume next issue should be even more “meta,” with the revelations about Ambrose here now making him a bigger player in all of this. I assume, however, the characters’ own plot points won’t be ignored (for those who prefer that over the multiverse subplot).

Comic review: Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (of 6)

Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (of 6)

Written by: Chris Roberson
Art by: Jeffrey Moy

The first issue in this six-issue crossover miniseries between the Legion of Super-Heroes (DC’s heroic teenagers of the 30th century) and the cast of the original “Star Trek” (the *real* originals, not the cruddy reboot versions) kicks off in entertaining fashion.

The story sees the Enterprise reporting back to Earth so Kirk can deliver a commencement speech at Starfleet Academy. “Meanwhile” (if that means anything here) on the DCU side of the multiverse (omniverse?), the Legionnaires are in a time bubble en route to the 30th century (or is it permanently the 31st century these days?). Unfortunately for them, they discover a disturbance in the timestream that forces them to crash-land in the 23rd century…  but not the one they know. We also see Kirk and company beam down to Earth… but not the Earth *they* know, either. The Earth both teams have landed on is somehow what looks like a hybrid of the world of “Star Trek” and the Legionnaires’ past (aka the DCU’s near-future—the world of Tommy Tomorrow, Space Ranger, and the other Golden and Silver Age sci-fi comics set between the 21st and 30th centuries). However, there’s also a bit of Trek’s “mirror” universe tone thrown in for good measure, as Earth is a dystopic disaster, with humans as a warlike conquering culture who apparently have it in for Durlans (the shape-shifting natives of Chameleon Boy’s home planet Durla).

This was a nice start, though I assume the next issue will see both teams actually meet. Can’t say exactly at what point in Star Trek:TOS continuity the Enterprise crew are from (besides apparently during or just after the original series’ run, based on the uniforms), but the Legionnaires come from some point after the “Great Darkness Saga” storyline. Still hoping for a Superboy reference in an upcoming installment!

The book helpfully lists a “role call” for both casts inside the front cover, with brief one-line descriptions of their abilities or roles. That might help Trek fans unfamiliar with the Legion (or vice-versa). The cover also lists in the UPC symbol box that the issue’s “not suitable for children under 13,” even though I don’t think there’s anything that would be objectionable to older children. There’s only one curse word (a mild one), and while there’s violence, it’s the type one would find in a battle scene in a “Star Trek” episode (or other sci-fi fare like “Star Wars”).

The comic comes with a backup feature, an 11-page preview for another IDW comic called “Memorial,” with the first issue due in December. Also written by Chris Roberson, the comic involves a woman with amnesia (nicknamed “Em”), and some mysterious person based in the Everglades trying to get an object that falls into Em’s possession.