Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'Archie' #8 by Mark Waid, Veronica Fish, and Andre Szymanowicz


★★★★★ (5/5)

The struggle for Archie Andrews is real and getting on the good graces of Hiram Lodge has been nearly impossible. Such is life for Veronica Lodge's boyfriend who despite his best efforts is being undermined at every turn. What's a red-headed teenage clutz to do? Mark Waid balances the crazy shenanigans you'd expect in an Archie comics with some serious testing of Archie's character. It's a pivotal turning point for the series that elevates it from mere kid's play to coming-of-age drama built on family values. 

What Waid has been able to do with this rebooted series is remarkable, developing characters we thought we knew with added dimensions and emotions. On the surface, I had always considered Veronica simply a spoiled rich girl accustomed to getting her way and some of that remains but she's actually more complex than that. The way she fights for her relationship with Archie to her dad reveals just how much she truly cares for the dork. She's even seeing him secretly against her dad's wishes causing a deeper rift but forcing Hiram to try more extreme measures to keep them apart. 

It's pretty heady stuff for the Riverdale gang but it's Archie that has to make a big decision. Does he continue to date Veronica and jeopardize a big opportunity for his father or does he swallow his pride, lose her, and give in to the manipulative Mr. Lodge? Archie comes through swimmingly, standing up to Lodge making it clear where he stands while keeping his father in mind. It's a revelatory scene that shows maturity and character all the while exposing Lodge as the small petty man that he is. 

Waid continues to impress as he raises the emotional stakes in ways you don't expect in an Archie comic. The drama ramps up and sure there's some slapstick occasionally that adds laughs but 'Archie' has a heart, a mind, and a soul that makes it one of the best comics on the market. Veronica given an agency you didn't know the character was capable of, making her human and vulnerable even if you're rooting for Betty to get back with Archie. 

Veronica Fish is as dynamic an artist as there is and her versatility in managing the slapstick and the drama demonstrates why she was a fitting replacement for Fiona Staples. Her superb character designs and fluid scene staging never takes you out of the story. It's just the opposite, drawing you further into the emotional turmoil expressed on the faces of Veronica, Archie, and especially Mr. Andrews. The look on Archie's dad's face is a heart-wrencher. The color work by Andre Szymanowicz and Jen Vaughn is some of the best the industry has to offer. 

Seeing what Waid is capable of, moving Archie and Veronica beyond caricatures and more complex beings has me yearning to see the same done with other characters. Betty, Sayid, Sheila, and Maria could use more development and agency themselves. Waid has proven he can do it which makes me all the more excited to see what happens next. Fish is doing exceptional work handling the waves of emotions and humor with her art. There's never been a better time to pick up an 'Archie' comic. 


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

REVIEW: 'Redneck' #2 by Donny Cates, Lisandro Estherren, and Dee Cunniffe

'Redneck' arrived a month ago redefining the vampire genre by not giving into convention or cliché. In fact, if you've read the first two issues, the vampire angle serves more as subtext than its selling point. It's the perfect approach to this character-driven southern fried drama that simmers with tension and intrigue.

REDNECK #2 STORY: DONNY CATES
ART/COVER: LISANDRO ESTHERREN & DEE CUNNIFFE LETTERER: JOE SABINO
RELEASE DATE: MAY 24
32 PAGES | Full Color | Mature | $3.99
★★★★☆ (4/5)
The Bowman's way of life just got upended and what was once a peaceful and secluded existence is on the verge of war. The vampires of Texas keep to themselves, raise their cattle, drink its blood and sell the meat through their BBQ joint. Seems like a brilliant front to keep them in the shadows while staking out a living. All that is threatened when one of their own is killed after a night on the town. This issues fills in the holes to what might have happened and what the hell is…

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …

PREVIEW: 'Project Superpowers' #1 by Rob Williams and Sergio Davila

The Project Superpowers heroes came from the past, now they have to prove their relevance in the modern world. A 21st Century threat is coming for us all. What dread secrets does The Death Defying Devil hold? The Lighthouse will rise and the Spirit of The American Flag will take on a new host. But will it be enough? Can superheroes still save the day?


Project Superpowers #1
writer: Rob Williams artist: Sergio Davila covers: Francesco Mattina (A), Ed Benes (B), John Royle (C)               Philip Tan (D), JG Jones (E) Stephen Segovia (F)               Sergio Davila (G), Philip Tan (RI-B/W)               J.G. Jones (RI-Sepia), Ed Benes (RI-Virgin)               Francesco Mattina (RI-Virgin)
FC  |  32 pages  |  $3.99  |   Teen+  












PREVIEW: 'Tet' #4 by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker

We've seen Eugene's story. But during his last day's in Vietnam, he finally learns how Ha survived the war. She's always been much stronger than him; and much stronger than he's given her credit for. With all their secrets gone, Ha and Eugene must decide how to move forward.

PREVIEW: 'Nancy Drew' #3 by Kelly Thompson and Jenn St-Onge

No more secrets…a dead body’s discovered, and Nancy can’t keep the mystery from her friends any longer. Will telling the truth and getting her crime-solving crew involved help crack the Bayport case, before someone else winds up dead? The modern take on the classic mystery icon continues from KELLY THOMPSON (Hawkeye, Star Wars, Rogue & Gambit) and JENN ST-ONGE (Giant Days, The Misfits)!


Nancy Drew #3
writer: Kelly Thompson  |  artist: Jenn St-Onge covers: Tula Lotay (A), Paulina Ganucheau (B), Jenn St-Onge (C),               Tula Lotay (RI-Virgin)
FC  |  32 pages  |  $3.99  |   Teen+