I've criticized comics for being too "retro" in the past, but the description is most definitely a positive for this comic. This reminds me of why I loved reading superhero adventures as a kid in the first place. It's just solid fun from cover to cover, keeping things simple while still keeping things smart. Since this was a "jam" issue, I'm not sure who to properly credit, but the overall tone of the book - - taking the plot seriously enough so you could get behind it while still celebrating the ludicrousness of all these costumed tropes - - reminds me in the best way of Grant Morrison's more whimsical works like All-Star Superman and Seaguy. Every joke worked, every spill took me by surprise, every fight had the right amount of punch. Pina's art was just gorgeous, perfectly capturing the fun and sun vibe of this book and handling the updated looks of all these characters rather slickly. Actually, the "updating" was pretty seamless, because the character files were quite helpful in getting you up to speed. In a pleasantly surprising way, they actually added to the rhyme of the pacing. And I have to say that "portable safe" was a surprisingly intriguing concept, mixing some secret history conspiracies with a genuinely crazy gimmick. Just wow... I couldn't help smiling after reading this.
Things get a wee uninteresting once Project Liberty gets on the scene and starts figuring out how these guys are going to factor in to their secret program, but that only last for about two pages.
The Verdict - 4.5/5
I'm almost shocking myself that I'm giving this so high a rating, because I didn't think it was going to be that great when I saw it on the shelf. I haven't picked up any of the specials and minis featuring the Archie Comics heroes and I've been skeptical about why DC would want to integrate these characters who've had so much trouble grabbing readers' lasting attention. So, again, I'm surprised as anybody that this proved to be as much a bang for my buck as it did. Young and old, seasoned fan and fresh newbie alike... I highly recommend you pick this up.