Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'Archie' #6 by Mark Waid and Veronica Fish

★★★★★ (5/5)

Growing up there was always some kind of soapy teen drama on television. Degrassi Junior High, Beverly Hills, 90210, and to a lesser extent Saved by the Bell were all full of juicy story lines - love triangles, moral dilemmas, relationship turmoil, etc. - and it's something that 'Archie' has mastered for decades. Under all that slapstick we're still talking about a boy caught between two love interests, his crazy comedic relief best friend, and a cast of characters that sometimes get caught up in the hurricane of hijinks. It's a testament to Mark Waid's talent that his versatility brings out the teen trapped within him to write some funny and engaging scripts full of nuance, humor, and great characterizations. 

Any writer who can humanize Veronica Lodge is doing something magical. Not just the high-maintenance, bossy, affluent socialite of Riverdale, Veronica has insecurities and vulnerabilities like anyone else, although sometimes guarded, her feelings for Archie are genuine and endearing. This all makes Betty on the outside looking in especially after she and Jughead tried to snap Archie out of his infatuated daze with Veronica only to push Archie away further. Enter Reggie Mantle. Jughead and Betty sought his help to get between Archie and Veronica but didn't go anywhere. Undeterred, Reggie is determined to complete his mission. 

Reggie, the jealous prankster, tries his best to get in with Veronica but fails spectacularly. Next, he tries to be in her powerful dad's circle of influence and that goes wrong real fast. Reggie is no quitter and by the end he uncovers some information that will change things going forward for our heroes. Waid cleverly orchestrates Reggie's epiphany conveniently but it was born out of an important scene with Veronica and her therapist. Veronica is complex, more so than I ever thought she'd be, and the reveal of the many layers of her personality just galvanizes 'Archie' as more than just campy fodder but one of comics great teen dramas.

Betty is wrought with guilt after she unknowingly hits Archie on the head with a huge home run during her softball practice that once again reveals the humanity of the characters.It sends him to the hospital with a concussion and Archie's mom consoling Betty is such a heartwarming touch that feels authentic and appropriate. 

Another Veronica, Veronica Fish, is the regular artist on 'Archie' now and she continues to shine with the same kind of versatility in art that Waid has with storytelling. She plays up some of the lighter comedic moments with effusive facial expressions, especially a livid Hiram Lodge or a surprised Reggie, but the quieter moments like a somber Betty and Jughead waiting at the hospital are just as impactful. Her sharper lines differ from Fiona Staples, who drew the first three issues, but no less beautiful. The layouts are dynamic and choreographed well. The scenes with Reggie require some energy as he sits poolside with Mr. Lodge and she finds angles that keep the eyes moving and the perspectives change to keep you engaged. It's a simple scene that exposes Reggie's insignificance to Veronica's dad and it's well-crafted so it works to perfection. 

'Archie' by Waid and Fish is so ripe with fun and drama that it makes sense that the CW Network is producing a live-action series, Riverdale, with these characters. The next great teen drama has always been with us and it continues in this fantastic new series that captures the whimsy of the past with greater depth and real emotions. Waid and Fish have broken the mold of whatever goofy image Archie may had had before. 'Archie' is a legitimate winner on every level that is funny and compelling without an ounce of snark or cynicism.


Popular posts from this blog

REVIEW: 'Bonehead' #2 by Bryan Edward Hill, Rhoald Marcellius, and Sakti Yuwono

Bryan Hill pumps the brakes a little in the follow up to the fast-paced debut of 'Bonehead' with more great world building. The mystery surrounding Bonehead 56 deepens but we at least get some backstory and details about what his arrival means for a pair of brothers with opposing viewpoints.

Writer: Bryan Edward Hill Artist: Rhoald Marcellius, Sakti Yuwono Letterer: Jaka Ady Graphics: Comolo Editor: Elena Salcedo Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: January 31, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score:★★★★☆ (4/5)
After a thrilling video game-like first issue, issue two gives way to the brothers Kray. Aleph is a tech scientist examining the unconscious "56" and marveling at his abilities. He reminds him when his brother Hideki roamed the city as the vigilante Blackdeath. Hideki is a Gladiator (cop) now and he questions Aleph's methods with 56 and its legalities. Nonetheless, they need 56 to be free on the streets for now so they can monitor him. The brothers c…


Valiant announces ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1 – a hard-charging, standalone special coming this winter from New York Times best-selling writer Fred Van Lente (ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, Incredible Hercules) and red-hot rising star CAFU (RAPTURE)! On February 7th, join in a riotous celebration for the ages as Armstrong, for the very first time, uncorks the ancient mysteries of his centuries past – and dares his closest comrades into the adventure of several lifetimes!

Deep beneath New York City’s seediest dive bar, Armstrong – the hard-hitting, harder-partying immortal veteran of history’s greatest escapades – is hosting an invitation-only affair for his most beloved friends and allies! Archer… Ivar, Timewalker… Faith… Quantum and Woody… And special guests from across the Valiant Universe… All have been offered a seat at the table for a personally guided tour of Armstrong’s most valuable and tightly guarded treasure… From the Great Flood to ancient Greece to the height of the C…

REVIEW: 'Infidel' #1 by Pornsak Pichetshote, Aaron Campbell, and Jose Villarrubia

'Infidel' #1 by Pornsak Pichetshote and Aaron Campbell arrives at a time when the horrors of everyday life for marginalized people is scary enough but add misogyny and xenophobia from demons and well, that's just multi-dimensional haterade. This contemporary horror story feels timely and brimming with scary thrills.

Writer: Pornsak Pichetshote Artist: Aaron Campbell, Jose Villarrubia Letterer: Jeff Powell Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: March 14, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)
Aisha is an American Muslim woman who just moved into a haunted apartment building with her boyfriend, his child, and his mother. It's the perfect horror movie set-up that includes a tragic incident that led to the killing of several people, the haunting aftermath of the explosion, a boyfriend's xenophobic possibly racist mother, and terrifying nightmares. Pichetshote has cooked up a potent cauldron consisting of the right horror tropes mixed with equally horr…

REVIEW: 'Hit-Girl' #1 by Mark Millar and Ricardo Lopez Ortiz

Hit-Girl is most certainly back and as deadly and crazy as ever. She's gone international looking to fight injustice and find a worthy sidekick. Mark Millar is in top form with help from artists Ricardo Lopez Ortiz and Sunny Gho. The heart of the Kick-Ass legacy lives on as bloody and as thrilling as you remember.

Writer: Mark Millar Artist: Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, Sunny Gho Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: February 21, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★★ (5/5)
The retirement of Dave Lizewki as the original Kick-Ass has left a void in Mindy's crime-fighting life. Trying to recruit his replacement has been challenging to say the least. She's going to go it alone and taking her skills global as a cry for help leads her to Colombia.

Millar hits the floor running with a wild prison break, Mindy parting ways with an unworthy partner, and a grieving mother looking for justice. The sudden blitz back to the world of Kick-Ass is like comfort food for comic book fans. …

ADVANCE PREVIEW: Veronica Goes Vampire in New Horror Series 'Vampironica'

NEW ONGOING SERIES! When Veronica is bitten by a centuries-old vampire, her thirst for blood threatens to turn Riverdale into a haven for the undead. Will she put an end to the vampire threat or give in to her bloodlust?

Script: Greg and Meg Smallwood Art: Greg Smallwood, Jack Morelli  Cover: Greg Smallwood Variant Covers: Francesco Francavilla, Audrey Mok, Djibril Morrissette-Phan, Marguerite Sauvage On Sale Date: 3/14 32-page, full-color comic $3.99 U.S.
Artwork by Greg Smallwood