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COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Archie #3

 
Archie3 cover
Archie3 cover
Archie3 cover

 
Overview
 

Story by: Mark Waid
 
Art by: Fiona Staples
 
Publisher:
 
FG RATING
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/ 5


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To sum it all up..

RIVERDALE HIGH’s COÑO This is getting more intense! Mark Waid and Fiona Staples hit the third homer with their re-imagination of the Archie series in Archie #3. This latest issue focuses more on the first day in Riverdale High School of Archie’s newfound love, Veronica Lodge. Waid makes sure that his excellent command of great […]

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Posted October 15, 2015 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

Archie3 cover

RIVERDALE HIGH’s COÑO

This is getting more intense! Mark Waid and Fiona Staples hit the third homer with their re-imagination of the Archie series in Archie #3. This latest issue focuses more on the first day in Riverdale High School of Archie’s newfound love, Veronica Lodge. Waid makes sure that his excellent command of great writing presents the unica hija de Don Hiram Lodge as his blatant way of critiquing the lifestyles of America’s spoiled affluent brats, and in extent, the existing divide of the country’s socio-economic-cultural realms without being so preachy, dark and serious, but nevertheless makes sure he retains the perpetual Archie-brand of humor, wackiness and wholesomeness. Look, he characterizes the rich girl’s prima donna attitude upon her dramatic entrance in the said premises. To make things more interesting, he has Archie transformed into a bubbling love-struck “manservant” in no time. However, Waid-the-Liberal type has the readers explore the mindsets of the American affluent (representing Veronica) and the middle-working-class types (most of the high school students in Riverdale High), particularly how these contradictory beings interact, perceive, and react with one another. Mark also parodies the current reality show phenomenon via Veronica’s persona that present nothing but the excesses and shallowness, particularly the Kardashians, Donald Trump, and back then, high-class socialite Paris Hilton. Henceforth, this issue alone is a hors d’oeuvre of Waid’s discourse on the America’s great divide.

Moreover, Waid continues to further characterize the likes of Jughead and Betty, in addition of introducing (again) some of the familiar faces we are aware in the Archie lore. The former is perhaps the second focus in this third issue and given more dimensions since his dramatic game-changer role in the premier chapter. Jughead is becoming the true voice of reason and the sanest mind in Riverdale High in the midst of Archie’s descent to ludicrousness. Virtually gone for the most parts of his burger-loving dude persona (he is still the king of eating), instead, Waid further transforms  the munching type into a cunning and strategic guy, but emphasizing the character’s deep friendship and camaraderie with Archie. As to the main cast’s former flame, it is in Waid’s credit of having two potential best friends/ rivals appear much later in this issue, and of all places, the women’s bathroom! Their interactions may be considered brief, but the writer’s crisp, sarcastic and witty dialogues, especially to the infuriatingly disgusting Veronica’s, make this moment both almost quotable and memorable. It is no surprise that in next issue promises another great story….let the game begins!

Lastly in Mark’s part, he also features another treat for both new and jaded Archie readers: Veronica Lodge’s first comic appearance way back in 1942, to which the comic historian explains delightfully how actually little the characterizations of Archie and Veronica change from the wartime America up to the present times, except for the social norms and the prices of some commodities then (but attitude wise, the 1940s generation can be viewed as polite, refined and dignified as compared to today’s generation nowadays. Go figure!).

Naturally, the true heavy hitter here is no other than Fiona Staples (sadly, this is also her last Archie issue, probably because she must return working for her Image-owned comics, SAGA, soon). Like some of the best artists right now, Fiona draws some of the most gorgeous and for the most part, well-defined and detailed artworks to date. Also, her illustrations of the facial portrayals are definitely spot-on, hitting the right emotional features that even extend Waid’s literary visions. The only messiest moment is her double-page splash art showing Veronica’s most humiliating and disgusting (but well-deserving treatment to the cast’s ill-placed manner) high school episode yet. Fiona’s drawings alone can make many of us both sympathizing with Betty’s immediate rage on the new girl on the block, and Jughead’s rescue mission plan on his beloved buddy. However, and sadly, Fiona leaves after this one, and hopefully her replacement, Annie Wu, either matches her artistic passion or transcends further, do more than expected.

However, some of Fiona’s illustrations are a little bit inconsistent, particularly on how she draws or presented some of the characters’ faces in one panel to another. Look at her artwork on Jughead’s chin, in one panel she draws sharply. And then follows with his chin being chopped off, and then follows up back to the original one. Additionally, there is a panel where Betty’s face is a bit awkward due to the long angular perspective. Nonetheless, Staples’s art is still Eisner’s-caliber.

Archie #3 sets the mood to an interesting story arc while presenting a serious matter of the social-economic and cultural divide, though still retaining the hilarity that defines the Archie comics. Waid’s scripts are absolutely solid, and Fiona’s arts are equally stunning. Though this is Fiona’s farewell issue yet, Annie Wu’s cover art sample may continue the greatness of this lighthearted series.


Paul Ramos

 


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