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Archie #20

by TalkNerdy2Me on May 17, 2017

Script: Mark Waid

Art: Pete Woods

Publisher: Archie Comics

 

This is the first issue of Mark Waid’s Archie reboot that I’ve actually been nervous to read. It’s the first of a 3-part arc called “Over the Edge”, and he’s hinted broadly in interviews that not every character is going to walk away unscathed. Cover art and solicits have even been released that imply pretty heavily that someone is going to die. The rule in comic books, of course, is always that nobody’s really dead unless they show a body - but that seems to only apply to superhero books. Who knows what could happen in a slice-of-teenage-life book that also just so happens to be an American icon?

 

I’m also a little bit disappointed that everyone in the brave new Archie world, from Waid to the writers of Riverdale, have all decided to make Reggie Mantle a mustache-twirling villain. He’s always been a jerk and a player and an opportunist, but he’s never really been an actual bully before. Until now. And I worry that we’ll see his character fundamentally changed, permanently, if he ends up causing a a beloved member of the Riverdale community to actually die.

 

Dire warnings aside, this was a really good book. I love that we’re seeing Betty’s mechanical talents fully explored, and I really like seeing her back to being friends with Archie again. I also like that she and Ronnie are developing a friendship. And not gonna lie, I was giggling like a maniac over their snarky conversation and mutual joking at Archie’s expense. (Keep an eye out for a great throwaway visual gag involving Archie and a car battery...)

 

It’s also funny to see Archie channeling another 80s teen icon in this issue. Last issue, I said that his 4th-wall-breaking brings to mind Ferris Bueller; this time he’s doing a credible Marty McFly impression. Fans of the “Back to the Future” movies will remember that Marty’s one weakness against bullies like Biff was being called a chicken or a coward. And so it is with Archie, as well as seeing Reggie disrespect and trash-talk Betty. 

 

I’m really enjoying Pete Woods’ art here, but I still find his people to be a little bit uneven. That said, his backgrounds and objects (especially the cars!) are really outstanding. I was also a bit unnerved at the decision on the final page to show one of the kids taking smartphone images/video of an accident scene, but it absolutely shows this book is taking place in 2017. That stands in contrast to the idea of two teenagers “racing for pinks”, like it’s 1978 and Danny Zuko is singing Broadway songs when he’s not greasing his hair back. No spoilers about the rest of the book, just read it and then curse the calendar that it’s not next month yet.

Our Score:

9/10

A Look Inside