- Posted by Johanna on July 27, 2008 at 8:39 am
- Category: Archie Comics
The five-part “Freshman Year” story, which starts here, aims to show the characters just before they started high school. They don’t look any younger — but with their design, it’s hard to indicate only a year or two age difference. They are a lot wider-eyed, to show their relative innocence. It’s written by Batton Lash (Supernatural Law) and drawn well by Bill Galvan (Scrapyard Detectives).
Right away, Archie dreams of being a superhero and a spy, a storytelling choice that didn’t make sense to me. You’re doing a story to show how the characters became the people they are today, and you start with total fantasy? They’re supposed to be thinking about going to high school, and already they’re jumping ahead to after they’ve graduated?
After that, the gang goes back-to-school shopping, Betty tries to get over her crush on Archie, and Jughead’s dad just got a new job out of town. This is a story about Archie comics, an album full of allusions to other events and “remember Archie did that” moments. After reading this, I have no idea how Lash will fill four more issues — but I’m curious to find out.
Archie & Friends #121
After their world tour, the gang’s barely home before they’re off to a comic convention. A buck-toothed fast talker wants to make a movie about their band, so he drags them to the show because the “comic geeks” there “represent billions of dollars in spending potential!” How modern!
The rest of the issue is him treating them badly, along with his staff, and there’s also some movie-making bandits running around. Only one-third of the way into this three-issue story, and I bet those two groups are the same.
Jughead’s Double Digest #142
The “New Look” Jughead story concludes, finally, with vomit humor and even uglier art. As expected from the beginning, everything that happens is to teach people the lesson that they shouldn’t meddle in other people’s love lives. The problem is that the problem setup takes 3 1/2 chapters while the resolution is more like 3 1/2 pages — it’s very out of proportion, making it feel artificial and calculated.
The rest of the digest is much more entertaining, with a variety of summer sports covered: tennis, swimming, and frisbee. One that stood out to me was the one where Betty and some friends decide to have a cookout but can’t get the fire started, so they have to find a man (Jughead) to do it. I didn’t realize the ability to light a match was gender-specific. I liked better the one at the river swimming hole, with inner tubes and swinging ropes and convenient revenge on a motorboat. It’s a nice variety of summer getaways.