- Posted by Johanna on June 18, 2008 at 6:54 am
- Category: Archie Comics
It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the regular Archie comics, so please forgive me for being a little behind.
Archie & Friends #119
The gang is engaging on a World Tour in this title, and this issue is part 3 of the ongoing storyline (although that doesn’t matter much if you haven’t seen previous chapters, since there’s lots of recap). After London and Madrid, they’re now in Nairobi. (I have to say, I never went to a school that set up around-the-world excursions for students. I’m jealous.) There’s an ongoing “bad guys want something they think the Archie gang has” chase plot that reminded me of a 1960s movie. In this installment, Archie and Jughead are kidnapped by smugglers and have to escape.
Which is something of a shame, since I was actually hoping for more travelogue. I’d like to learn more about this part of the world, but much of what I read was a generic desert adventure that could as well be happening in Arizona. I missed having someone explain to me what makes Nairobi unique. What are the local foods? Pastimes? Industries? The artist draws local color well, but it’s not labeled or elaborated on for the reader. Educate me! Don’t waste the setting!
Betty & Veronica Spectacular #83
It’s a special summer fun issue, and they do a great job of pulling together everything that makes a perfect (fictional) summer. After a cute boys vs. girls fight over the local swimming hole (where Cheryl makes everything worse), there are beach tips and scrapbooks of flashback memories. The distinctive look of this title, moving away from a traditional comic to art-driven features and full pages, is attractive, too.
I wasn’t that thrilled with the lead story, which revolves around Cheryl copying Veronica’s prom dress, but I did find it interesting to note that the story starts when the three girls all ask Archie to the prom at the same time. I kind of expected Veronica to figure out how to get Archie to ask her, not to just blurt out the invite, but I guess that would be considered an older-fashioned kind of story these days. Archie’s answer is also very modern: he can’t pick one, so he decides to “dance and hang out with all three”. In other words, a group date. The girls immediately acquiesce, which I didn’t expect. The plot then, instead of becoming “how do I get Archie to pick me”, devolves to the aforementioned wardrobe issues.
I’m not sure what to think of this character these days. I don’t miss the incredibly self-centered earlier version, but they seem to have taken away her negative characteristics without adding many positives. (And what pluses she does have are weaker copies of Betty’s.) I’m wondering if maybe, in these days of a poor economy, she has potential in emphasizing the wish-fulfillment aspects of her life.
Betty & Veronica #235
Alternately, they could take this approach. Veronica, after a fight with her parents, decides to move out and make it on her own. This is a classic plot, which reminded me of some of the great heiress-learns-a-lesson comedies of the 30s, told with energy and emotion. Veronica has passion, misguided, yes, but it makes her more interesting to read about than usual. The book-length story helps too, with more space providing more room for twists. This is the kind of teen soap opera with happy ending the characters are well suited for.