Archie Comics 2013
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Illustrated by Francesco Francavilla
Lettered by Jack Morelli
Moving across the country, pursued by an army of the undead, led by Jugdead and Sabrina—the newly crowned BRIDE OF CTHULHU—the rag-tag band of survivors has unearthed secrets, learned new truths—and, amidst the carnage, Archie and BETTY have become engaged! But one thing still remains a mystery to everyone: How did this all start? Only one person knows the answer, and the guilt is eating away at his sanity…
This is hands down one of those issues that pretty much sums up the relationship between Reggie and Archie in ways you never, ever expected to see. Roberto has gone to astonishing lengths to show us how the characters who have been lifelong friends feel about each other and in general the kind of people they really are. I am beyond impressed with what Roberto has brought to us this issue in terms of getting to the core of who Reggie is.
While I had hoped that this was going to come with regular frequency the fact that this issue picks up where the series left off and it feels like no time has passed is a good thing. Still here’s hoping that from here on out it does come on a regular basis since this is probably the best Archie series to have EVER hit stands.
The opening alone had me and I had thought that Reggie was on that road to redemption until the truth was laid for us. After his heart to heart with Kevin and then seeing the reaction to what he’s done from Archie, Betty and Veronica it really pulls at the heartstrings. There really is such a long and storied history between Archie and Reggie and not all of it’s been bad there have been plenty of instances where their friendship has blossomed and yes plenty of moments where Reggie’s jealousy that he isn’t the man Archie is has come into play. To get such an all around full view of this in such a limited time is a true testament to Roberto’s writing ability.
That we seem to see Reggie finally admitting he’s human and wanting to be a better person was one of those moments when you start to feel something for him. You feel his anguish at what has happened and you feel his love for Midge during all this and the regret at what he’s done that has led up to all this occurring. Even throughout his tale to Kevin you want and feel Reggie needing to do what’s right and perhaps redeem whatever is left of the humanity inside him. This is some of the most powerful characterization i’ve even seen or felt while reading a comic book. You cannot leave changed after reading this.
Francesco’s interiors here are just as inspired as the words seem to be. The way he uses the pages and panels to tell this story is utterly amazing to see. These characters have literally aged overnight and the men and women they’ve become through this horrible nightmare only serve to endear them to us all the more. When we see the ending and the ultimatum Reggie’s faced with it takes on that classic horror mythology look of an old pulp magazine.
Please let this remain a consistent ongoing series because if this is what we get to look forward to, this level of storytelling then it can once become the water cooler talk it started out as.