REVIEW: REGGIE AND ME #4 (of 5)
Script: Tom DeFalco
Art: Sandy Jarrell
Publisher: Archie Comics
This is the one “New Riverdale” book that I’ve had the most mixed feelings about. Reggie Mantle was never my favorite character in the classic Archie house-style comics, but I tolerated his stories anyway because he was part of the gang. Along with Betty, Veronica, Archie, and Jughead, he was a member of the “core five” characters that readers followed in Riverdale. They had their own titles, their own strengths and weaknesses, their own character traits.
What I find interesting about this new iteration of Reggie is the publishers’ willingness to double down on his original prankster tendencies. While original-recipe Reggie was all too happy to have a laugh at Archie’s expense, or try to date Veronica, or even take verbal potshots at Jughead, he was never purposely cruel. This Reggie is a bit different. This take on the character seems to have started with the Reggie from the “Afterlife with Archie” stories, but I’ll address that bit in my review of the Jughead werewolf one-shot.
This is all to say that Reggie is a real douchebag in this book, and I’m fairly sure I’m not happy about it. While it’s fun to have a jerk to root against, it’s less fun if that jerk is somebody you thought you used to know as a friend. That feeling of regret is why I’m not sorry to see this miniseries coming to an end, but also why I hope there’s enough of a redemption for Mr. Mantle to allow for an actual ongoing series that focuses on him as more of a merry prankster than a creep.
I also have to say that I’m hoping for more of this focus on Reggie because I’m really enjoying the art from Sandy Jarrell. He not only draws Reggie in an ever-present leather jacket that makes me think of Negan by way of The Fonz, he also completely nailed Reggie’s little sidekick. As a person who used to be owned by a wiener dog when she was little, I recognized Vader right away. He’s stubborn and smart and loyal (even to a fault), but willing to change his mind for somebody who dishes out tasty treats. He also made me laugh out loud with his tendency to literally run circles around Reggie in an effort to divert his attention. I may have also gasped audibly at the cliffhanger ending of this issue.
I’ll say again that Reggie Mantle has been a world-class jerk in the new Archie books, but anybody who inspires this much love from a little dog can’t be all bad. Even if the great Mantle doesn’t get to keep his own title after this miniseries, I hope at the very least that he gets to play a larger part in the main “Archie” book, and that Vader gets to come along for the ride.