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ARCHIE #21

by TalkNerdy2Me on June 21, 2017

Script: Mark Waid

Art: Pete Woods

Publisher: Archie Comics

 

Well, nobody’s dead *yet*, which I suppose is a good sign, but this issue had me absolutely on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was going to happen to upset the apple cart in idyllic little Riverdale. I went into it knowing who the “victim” was because I wasn’t as careful as I should have been to protect myself from online spoilers yesterday morning. (In my defense, I was reading Twitter before I’d been properly caffeinated, which we all know can be dangerous these days!) But it also seems like the mere fact that Mark Waid is telling journalists who to worry about before the issue even drops is a clue. He’s hedging and bobbing and weaving like Sean Spicer in front of a wily reporter - after all, it’s one thing to kill off a beloved superhero, who can be regenerated and retconned any number of times. It’s another thing altogether to murder a sweet, wholesome teenager who’s been part of one of the most iconic love triangles in history. It’d be like kicking a puppy and then stealing its Milkbone!

 

All that being said, this was a really good issue. I loved that Waid started with his focus squarely on Jughead and the lengths to which he’s willing to go for food. Heck, he’s even willing to let Pop put him to work for his burger rations! It’s also kind of adorable to watch him tell everyone what they want even if they argue with him. And Jughead’s not the only one in the book who’s smarter than people give him credit for. The short bit with Dilton, Moose, and the VR helmet was really cute, and I loved that Waid allowed Moose to tease Dilton with a reference to “Of Mice and Men”.  In fact, there are four short vignettes here, with separate members of the gang, and they echo each other in pairs.  Veronica also wants something, and has to prove her worth just like Juggy does. And then there are Raj and Sheila, who’re shooting a monster movie in the halls of the high school - which easily puts one in mind of Pete Woods’ drawings of Moose looking like the Frankenstein monster. I also really love that all these people are particularly drawn to our victim in their time of need.

 

And as good as Waid’s writing is here, he’s matched by Woods’ artwork. Certainly it’s no Dan Parent or Harry Lucey, but these people look believable flesh-and-blood (albeit sort of cartoon-y) human beings. That’s hugely important for an emotional story arc like this - the art doesn’t overshadow the writing or make it seem ridiculous. (He even manages to soften old man Lodge!) And I adore his scenery. My very favorite panel of the whole book is the one of Moose lurching towards the cute, fuzzy bunny in the foreground. That bunny is charming without looking like a refugee from a little kids’ book. The fade to black at the end wasn’t too shabby either. I’m anxiously awaiting next month, to see whether I need to send my used Kleenexes and hate mail to Archie Comics!

Our Score:

9/10

A Look Inside