Archie is back with an especially musical issue #11. Last time on Archie, we saw Hiram Lodge’s opponent for mayor, Mr. Greg Collier, get run out of town. Half the town loves Veronica for getting him to leave, and the other half hates her (and by the transitive property, Archie, too) for making him leave.
The talent show is coming to Riverdale High, and the battle becomes one between Veronica (and Archie) and Betty. Both form bands and perform, but when the winner is announced, Betty and Archie are talking outside. Their respective partners coincidentally happen to see them hugging behind the school.
Anyway, there are a few things to talk about in this issue. First of all, we have a new artist…again. We’ve changed artists a lot over the course of these 11 issues, so it’s nothing new. However, it is getting a little annoying. I want to see characters that I’ll get used to and be able to follow throughout the entire series. This issue’s characters are distinguishable, but are a bit less emotive and reminiscent of the original characters. They actually look younger than in the rest of the series so far. That’s not to say that the artwork is bad at all. This is actually some really good illustration. It tells the story well, shows a lot of movement, and shows just as much as Waid’s words tell.
Another thing to reference is the perpetual breaking of the story with smaller subheadings. This is something that the Archie series has done for years. We’re used to it, we understand it, and we don’t mind it. But in this issue, there were WAY too many. At one point, they were introduced after a single page! While it’s usually bearable, in this issue, it broke up all fluidity that Waid had established with the script.
Otherwise, there are small details in the script that really contribute to the tone and characterization in the story. For example, Betty only starts a band because she can hear Archie’s from his garage and Veronica can literally only sing when she’s looking at Archie. I suppose that’s sweet to a certain extent, but far more concerning than that. Betty even puts on a fake happy face when Archie tells her that Veronica makes him happy. Archie can see that Betty is really upset, but the classic love triangle has him stuck once again.
As always, there is an Archie comic in the back of the issue from the ‘60s. In this one, The Archies are having trouble finding a place to practice where their music can be appreciated. Finally, they sing a song about Betty’s mom. She is so moved that she lets them practice in the Cooper household.
These blunt scripts and hyperbolized expressions show the beauty with which the original Archie comics touched fans’ hearts. Although a new generation of Archie comics is being released, Waid pays his respect to the timeless comic book series that shaped so many of our childhoods.
This is a great issue that definitely mixes things up in the series. I’m not going to lie; I hope Archie and Betty get back together. At the very least, they deserve the chance to be friends (or at least not be so awkward around each other). I’m excited to see what happens next…and who the heck won the talent show?!
Written by: Mark Waid
Illustrated by: Various