Script: Mark Waid
Art: Pete Woods
Publisher: Archie Comics
I’m really enjoying this Archie run by Mark Waid, especially when it starts as adorably as this issue does. The first page is almost cinematic, in that it would be referred to as a “cold open” with Archie and Jughead and Ronnie as the iconic three-on-a-soda. I also like the way Waid is embracing Archie’s 4th-wall-breaking tendencies. I’ve finally determined where I recognize it from, too - it’s not a Deadpool knockoff, it’s Ferris Beuller. Archie might not be as savvy as Ferris, but he’s still a teenager. And “teenager” means getting into trouble and clumsiness and the rest of the thousand natural shocks all young flesh is heir to.
That’s why I loved the title of this first chapter - I’m a sucker for puns and “dad jokes”, but I’m also a sap and a softie. So anything that fully describes the loneliness that often comes with being young and hormonal is an easy sell for me. And when that sell comes in the form of Jughead Jones waxing philosophical about love to his friend, that’s even better. I’m so glad to see Waid acknowledging that if there’s one thing Jug loves more than a burger, it’s his best friend, and he wants to see Archie happy. And speaking of relationships and saps, I love how Ronnie’s dad is so devoted to her, as well as the criminally underrated camaraderie between him and Smithers. I’m pretty sure he’s the “Alfred” of the Archie universe, in that he’s a man of few words who knows so much more than most folks give him credit for.
Pete Woods’ art is getting better by the issue, although I do wish his faces were a little “prettier” for the girls. Or maybe I’m just getting a bit spoiled by the supernaturally gorgeous actresses who portray Betty and Veronica on the CW’s Riverdale. That being said, my favorite panel was the one in which Jughead rolls a “ball of Archie” up to Veronica for some very sweet emotional bonding. My other favorite artistic bit was the look on Pop’s face as he trudges through a page with a garden hose to get rid of Veronica’s doofy admirers.
The only thing that’s tempered my enjoyment of this lighthearted tale is the knowledge of what’s coming. It’s been all over the Internet lately that the next three issues of this book may very well kill off a major character. We don’t know for sure, and folks rarely stay dead for long in comics, but Waid has at the very least made me care enough about all the folks in this cast that I would hate to see any of them go.