Once Archie Comics has launched a reboot of the main Archie series with Mark Waid writing, I jumped aboard with the first trade. I’m all caught up, so let’s check out the latest issue together. Is it good?
Archie #7 (Archie Comics)
Archie is in a bad place. Veronica’s father found out he destroyed the mansion and even worse, local sleezebag Reggie Mantle is now the guy’s consultant! Reggie has it out for Archie and if things keep up, our hero won’t be able to see Veronica anymore! He needs a plan to stop this guy and stat!
Having read the first six issues of Archie back to back and then this, I got to say that this issue… is decent, if somewhat disappointing. It’s about the same level of quality that you come to expect from this relaunched series. Same level of humor and wit with everybody’s shenanigans, the characterization remains on point for the cast and they are all pretty likeable, and the artwork is nice looking in general and contributes to the mood and tone rather well. The series feels like it’s gotten into a consistent and stable groove as of now. There’s fun to be had with the situations that pop up, but the comic doesn’t surprise or have the same impact as it once did.
The disappointing part comes in with the story of the issue. Things start off promisingly with Reggie, now Mr. Lodge’s consultant, willing to act as Lodge’s eyes and ears in Riverdale. The issue is then about Archie trying to find a way to get Lodge to drop Reggie before anything bad happens, which leads to some fun and goofy moments. However, the issue ends with Reggie being blackmailed by Pop into giving up his job and the consultant plotline ends there. That’s disappointing, since it feels like we could have seen this story go on for a little bit longer and we didn’t spend much time exploring this partnership between the two characters. Plus, since the storyline is already over, it almost feels like we’re back to where we were in last issue and not a lot was accomplished. Also, the whole romance angle with Betty now seemingly interested in a new guy from last issue is sidelined, along with Mr. Lodge trying to get to Archie (like the solicitations suggested). All of this doesn’t really make for a satisfying experience, especially after the solid setup from last issue.
Mark Waid’s writing otherwise is good. Like I said, he writes a consistently fun and enjoyable issue of the series—good characterization, solid humor, and engaging dialogue from start to finish. His storytelling is solid, conveying all of the events and scenes well enough by not dragging them out or making them move too quickly (Sure, a plotline is ended a tad too quickly, but it’s not told poorly). The ending comes across as promising, indicating we’ll actually see Mr. Lodge confront Archie about what happened, which should be fun at least. Probably the best thing in the issue, for longtime fans of Archie Comics at least, is the return of Pop. He showed up briefly in the past issues, but he never said or did much. Here, we get a good introduction to the character, the all-knowing figure of the town who knows everyone’s secrets due to running the local burger joint, but keeps the info all to himself. Whether that fits with his character from the previous series or not, he’s at least presented rather well here with his interactions with Archie and what he does towards the end.
Veronica Fish continues on as the main artist and she does a pretty solid job all around. While a lot of people I’ve heard say they preferred Fiona Staples’ art (or even Annie Wu’s) to Fish’s, I find our current artist’s work to be more appropriate in some ways, especially when it came to this issue. While Staples was stronger at capturing the drama and real setting of the series (usually anyways), Fish beats her in portraying and executing the comedy and the zaniness of it. The drama was downplayed a lot here, pushing more of a comedic bend to things. Fish’s more cartoonish visuals and exaggerated ways of portraying the characters’ emotions in her art fit perfectly here and helped sell a lot of the humor (see Archie at the newspaper for instance). But beyond just that, the art is good at portraying characters and their emotions, the layouts are constructed well and everything is easy to read, and the coloring is nice as well. The book just looks good overall and I hope she sticks around for the long run.
Is It Good?
Archie #7 is a fun and enjoyable issue when it comes to the silly antics and characters, but also feels like a letdown when it comes to the story and developments. It is easily the weakest issue in what has been a rather engaging new series, so hopefully this is only a minor slip-up more than anything. Even at its weakest, if you have been enjoying the series thus far, you should still end up liking this.