Archie #6 continues the new reboot’s streak of creating a modern and fun vibe for the series while still keeping to the core of the original series both in Waid’s writing and Fish’s art.
Archie #5 lacks the visual panache of its first four issues and makes the interesting, if unfortunate story choice of focusing on its least likable character. Villain-centric stories can be supremely fascinating (See Hannibal, Breaking Bad, or even Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca’s Darth Vader), but this is the equivalent of spending an entire issue on the douchebag lead of an Axe bodyspray commercial. And touching moment between Veronica and Archie and closure for Betty aside, the issue has really to add to the teen genre and falls behind both Jughead and books like Giant Days in the surreal humor department.
Archie #4 is an excellent showcase for Annie Wu’s energetic depictions of friendship, romance, and heartbreak with subtly powerful colors from Andre Szymanowicz and Jen Vaughn. Sadly, Mark Waid’s script gets bogged down in a cycle of dated and cliched teen melodrama instead of exploring the relationship and falling out between Betty and Archie in more depth. However, Jughead is funny as ever, and Veronica lights up the few pages she appears in.
On Saturday and Sunday of New York Comic Con, the stakes get higher and the lines get longer as big studios, like Marvel, WB, and 20th Century Fox, bring out their movie and TV stars to sign autographs and appear on panels about their upcoming blockbusters and fall TV hits. You can catch the pilot of Fox’s Lucifer and CBS’ Supergirl based on the DC Comics properties, or decided to kick old school with several reunions of shows and movies, including Clueless, All That, and two masterpieces of nerdy TV that made my list.
After being teased for the past two issues, Veronica Lodge finally attends her first day of school at Riverdale High in Archie #3. Artist Fiona Staples makes her the most fashion forward member of the comic’s ensemble cast while writer Mark Waid gives her quite the complicated personality as she can go from a sly joker to a spoiled rich girl or a detached observer at the drop of a hat. Her arrival heightens the melodrama of the series to a boiling point as Archie starts following her around like a puppy because he is smitten with her and also because he accidentally destroyed her father’s mansion in Archie #2. However, the breakout character of the series continues to be Jughead.
Whereas Archie #1 was rooted in the teen soap opera, Archie #2 goes the teen sitcom route with a lighthearted issue about Jughead’s secret origins and Archie’s ineptitude at finding any kind of employment. Writer Mark Waid and artist Fiona Staples create a nice parallel between Archie’s inability to do something successful with his hands, and Betty’s ability to fix a car in a wink and a flash while also dealing with the realization that boys see her in a sexual way after she has broken up with Archie. Waid and Staples handle this in a not-too-creepy banner as Betty has her own Sia “Chandelier” moment in this issue’s montage to counteract her mixed emotions about breaking up with Archie and growing up.
After 600+ issues, Archie is going the way of most comics and getting a new number one issue. And a slice of life comic hasn’t looked this gorgeous as Saga artist Fiona Staples gives all the inhabitants of Riverdale a fashion facelift along with bringing rich colors and facial expressions to the new comic. However, she hasn’t abandoned the stylized elements of the Archie mythos as the letter jacket and Jughead’s crown shaped cap remain intact. This mix of classic and new finds its way into Mark Waid’s script. The plot of the first issue (which stands on its own with a tiny bit of serialization) is classic Archie filled with romance, pranks, and high school pitfalls, but Waid adds some fourth wall breaking humor and revamps the characters of Jughead and Reggie to make them less annoying than their older incarnations while keeping some of their core elements.