Archie #20 ComicWow! Review

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Archie has been fixing up his grandfather’s 1969 Mach 1 Cobra Jet Mustang for eight years now with his friend Betty. The day has finally come to test drive the gem, but of course Reggie Mantle gets in the way. When Archie and Reggie decide to have a drag race, Betty steps in to stop the chaos. Things get out of hand, though, when all three of their cars crash and someone has a horrible accident. Elsewhere, Cheryl and Jason Blossom are searching for clues as to who their real father is and why their parents are hiding money from them.

Archie had just started to salvage his relationship with Betty, but things really went sour in this issue. Both of them have been talking about a joyride in this Mustang for over eight years now, and Archie decided to waste that promise and race against Reggie instead—and for what? Just to say that he one upped the town bully? It’s not really worth it, and Betty realizes that, which is why she goes after him. I was stoked on their newfound friendship, but I have no idea where they’re going to stand after the events in this issue.

Mark Waid keeps this issue progressing at a steady but quick pace in terms of the events just before the drag race. All of Archie’s friends are helping out with the Mustang, but he ditches them at once to prove something to Reggie. Things move even faster when Betty is on her way to stop the race and give Archie a piece of her mind. There is a certain sense of suspense in this issue that keeps us on the edge of our seats. The cliffhanger at the end is no exception. All three cars crashed, but which fell off the side of a cliff? All signs lead to Betty, since she drove over an oil slick in the road. If it was Betty’s car, what does this mean for her relationship with Archie? Can she ever forgive him?

The side story featuring the Blossom family isn’t one to be ignored, either. Why do their parents want to keep money from them? Where is the money really going? We see letters from a prison—is that where their real father is? Why lie to them in the first place? Will the Blossom siblings figure out their parents’ plan? If so, will they confront them about it or take things into their own hands? This issue is filled with questions, and I can’t wait to get some answers next issue.

Pete Woods’ illustrations perfectly pair with the script. They are realistic enough that we can take the events in this story seriously, but they also resemble the classic Archie characters that we grew up with. The action sequence in this issue (a three car pileup) is illustrated with a lot of movement, showing us quickly (but in detail) how the car accident happens. The characters are really expressive, especially towards the end of the issue, so we know that what just happened isn’t anything to take lightly. The realistic coloring also aids the urgency at the end of this issue. The atmosphere gets a lot darker, with just headlights and tail lights illuminating the scene of the drag race. We already know something bad is going to happen…

This is a great issue to add to the series. It’s bound to cause quite a stir in Riverdale, and make or break certain friendships. I have no idea if Betty is going to be able to forgive Archie—or if she’s even okay enough to talk to him about it (assuming it was her car that fell off the cliff). Either way, next issue should prove to be an emotional one, and I can’t wait to read it!

Written by: Mark Waid

Illustrated by: Pete Woods