The biggest comic series of the year continues as the greatest mystery in comic books is finally revealed! The “lipstick incident” split Archie and Betty apart and left Riverdale changed forever. What exactly happened and can things possibly be fixed? Find out in this issue and welcome Annie Wu (Black Canary, Hawkeye) to Riverdale, as she takes over art duties in this brand new issue!
Okay, so here I am reviewing a “teen rom/com”… My box is sitting waaaaay over there, and I am outside of it. It’s cold and strange out here, but it’s not such a bad thing.
I used to read Archie comics, back in my youth. Usually when my Mom looked at the cover of Ghost Rider or X-Men and decided that I needed something a little less “grrrrrr” and more “apple pie”. They were funny, a little goofy at times, but for some reason they were strangely satisfying in ways my young and addled mind didn’t really comprehend. To be honest, I’m not even sure why I gave this one a shot now, other than that I keep getting preview copies in my email and I figured what the hell. Let me warn you now… If you read this comic, you will go from front cover to back and never see a single mutant, lightsaber, or vampire. And I’m here to tell you that it’s going to be okay. All of those things will still be out there waiting for you after you’ve finished this little palette cleanser of a comic.
First and foremost, I want to say that as far as writing goes, Mark Waid (yes, the Mark Waid who pretty much carried every DC title you can think of… Superman, Kingdom Come, and The Flash to name a few) brings it. The dialogue in this book is sharp, with none of the awkward moments you get from some writers (although the word “Bae” is used once, but I’m gonna that one pass) when trying to sound “now” or “hip”. Waid brings these characters, who’ve all been around since 1941, slip right into today’s world. No easy task, made even more difficult by the use of sub par artwork… which you will NOT find in this book, Annie Wu and company giving some great work. The characters are drawn in a style that fits very well into this comic world, almost seeming like a modern equivalent of the old days.
The story focuses in on Archie’s romantic life with childhood sweetheart, Betty. Although she isn’t prevalent in this issue, we just know that Betty’s nemesis Veronica is lurking in the wings, waiting to take her shot. Betty is the rough and tumble girl next door, undoubtedly adorable, socially awkward, but comfortable in her skin in the way that few teenagers seem to be. Enter two of the “popular girls” who take it on themselves to take Betty under their wing, to fix her. This misplaced good will has nothing to do with any feelings of generosity toward Betty, but instead to get themselves into the good graces of Archie, the most popular boy in school. High jinks and misadventures ensue.
Themes of social acceptance and popularity are always going to be relevant, and as long as they continue the quality work here, Archie and company can keep up. Archie might not be my thing, but even I have to give the nod to a well crafted book.
And for the record, I was always on Team Betty…