Seventy-seven years of continuity, all building up to THIS! Well… not really. But it is a huge anniversary for the boy from Riverdale! Your Major Spoilers review of Archie #700 awaits!
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Marguerite Sauvage
Colorist Marguerite Sauvage
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Editor: Alex Segura and Jamie Lee Rotante
Publisher: Archie Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 21, 2018
Previously in Archie: He’s the ultimate boy next door, torn between the rich, glamourous girl and the sweet, kind friend he grew up with. With his pointy-nosed best friend/squire and his general likeability, Archie Andrews embodies a brand of Americana that transcends any trend or specific decade. But now, it’s a whole new day for the redhead from Riverdale…
THE ‘RIVERDALE’ EFFECT
We open with a voice-over, ruminating about the strange little town of Riverdale and its various secretes, making a quick segueway into the fact that he hasn’t seen his best friend in almost three months. Cue Archie Andrews, pointedly asking Jughead where he’s been all summer while young master Jones steals his fries. And his burger. It seems that everyone has been had a momentous break, as Betty Cooper returns after spending her summer in Nevada helping to canvas for voter registrations, while Veronica Lodge’s whirlwind tour of New York’s fashion industry was apparently fodder for some great Instagram shots. The girls’ reunion is a bit awkward, though, as they aren’t sure how to address the elephant in the room, the fact that they’re both stuck on the same young man. Fortunately, Reggie “The Worst” Mantle arrives to interrupt their reverie and bring some amazing news…
JUGHEAD GOT A *JOB*???
The moment I opened this issue, I knew exactly what the New Direction was, and the revelation that Forsythe P. Jones is now a writer, working for Reggie’s dad cemented it for me: We’re going to get a comic book version of the CW series. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, as Sauvage’s art is lovely and she can draw a mean Cole-Sprouse-as-Juggy. The town of Riverdale has seldom felt more real, and even Veronica’s expensive Italian convertible is beautifully rendered on each page of Archie #700. The smug look on Reggie’s face as he reveals how his summer went (Two words: Football camp) is the icing on a very good looking cake. I’m not as enamored of Spencer’s script and dialogue in these pages, but it builds the quiet question of what’s wrong with Archie to a really impressive reveal at the end, with young Archie rebuffing the advances of not only Ronnie and Betty, but also Cheryl Blossom and Josie of Pussycats fame, leading to the even bigger shock moment as Veronica realizes: “He’s taken.”
BOTTOM LINE: THE MUCH-VAUNTED ‘JUMPING-ON POINT’
You could not ask for a better example of a comic designed to welcome new readers, with it’s careful embrace of much of the characterization of (and a lot of subtle likeness nods to) the CW’s hit show. Archie #700 takes great care to assemble our players and multiple story hooks for upcoming arcs, with not only the core folks, but Dilton, Moose, the Pussycats and more in play, establishing Jughead as an investigative reporter and wrapping it all up in some very well-done art, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. It’s definitely not a book for me, but it’s certainly got a lot going for it, especially for those who are into their Wednesday night teen dramas, which seems like a smart play from a commercial standpoint.
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It's not my cup of tea, but it does skillfully meld a lot of diverse elements around a central mystery, with at least one big surprise and lovely art.