Archie Comics 2015
Written by Mark Waid
Illustrated by Fiona Staples
Coloured by Andre Szymanowicz & Jen Vaughn
Say it isn’t so! Riverdale’s ideal couple, Archie & Betty… Split?? After the infamous “lipstick incident” (don’t ask), their breakup was all anyone at Riverdale High seemed to talk about! Following a failed attempt to bring them back together (thanks, Jughead!), it looks like everyone is FINALLY ready to accept some change in their small town…
I have to admire after reading this issue that everything i’ve known about the characters is still fundamentally here. Archie is a cutie, he’s clumsy and while your all american boy he isn’t the smartest or fastest kid in town he’s just him. It’s like that reassuring blanket or pillow you sleep better with knowing he’s still Archie and yet there’s a whole life he’s leading to discover at the same time.
Jughead gets a nice spotlight too as he and Archie are walking and talking and Archie is complaining he has no money. We get a great background on Jughead, Forsythe P. Jones III. His family was once the richest in Riverdale and he kind of rivaled what we think of Veronica in excess till his father made a bad investment and the family became broke. Forever changing Jugheads outlook on life.
This leads us directly into the unlucky life of Archie Andrews and some of the jobs he’s had. His desire to work so he can fix his car since he lost his best mechanic when he and Betty broke up. It’s a perfect segway into what’s happening with Betty. Tomboy through and through more at home fixing cars and playing video games than dealing with boys and trying to look girly but her friends have other ideas for her birthday party.
I love what Mark is doing here the characterization is phenomenal! In very short bursts we get plenty of characterization and understanding of the gang and how they feel about their friends. He manages to combine old school Archie sensibilities into his storytelling like breaking the fourth wall and having Archie talk to the reader while integrating modern technology like camera phones into the mix.
We’ve always known that Mr. Lodge has disliked Archie that’s been a staple of his life that Veronica likes him the way she does and his disdain for the boy. This issue actually has their first meeting, officially unofficial if you will as Archie is cleaning up his mess from earlier that day at the Lodge Manor worksite when Mr. Lodge and Veronica come to take a look. One giant mishap which pretty much sums up Archie’s life sets the stage for their relationship moving forward and perfectly demonstrates a reason why Mr. Lodge dislikes Archie so.
Fiona’s work on the interiors have done what very few have been able to do and that’s take such a realistic approach to the characters and giving them a modern look and sensibility to them. We’ve seen attempts of this in the past but it’s always done by a change of hair or clothes here she really gets into the new essence of the characters making them familiar and yet distinctly new at the same time.
This is a highly entertaining and well done look at making the Archie’s fresh and new again while still keeping the original sensibility of the series.