Archie Andrews has enlisted in the war effort, but that’s not the biggest change for our friends in Riverdale… Your Major Spoilers review of Archie 1941 #3 awaits!
Writer: Brian Augustyn & Mark Waid
Artist: Peter Krause
Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Editor: Mike Pellerito & Victor Gorelick
Publisher: Archie Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 28, 2018
Previously in Archie 1941: Basic training has begun and Archie’s surprised with a familiar face-Reggie Mantle! Meanwhile, the teens back in Riverdale that haven’t enlisted are dealing with different woes on the Homefront, !from anxiety worrying about their friends and families, to feelings of inadequacy and racial tensions in a changing world.
Having enlisted last issue, Archie Andrews finds himself at basic training in the small town of Speck, Alabama. Most of his story is told via letters home to his mother, who is having problems of her own, blaming husband Fred for allowing Archie to enlist. There’s enough misery to go around, though, as Jughead’s parents refuse to allow him to sign up, leading locals to call him a coward, while Betty can’t quite cope with staying strong while her man is overseas. Worst of all, though, is the treatment Chuck Clayton gets when he tries to exist, as four racist jerks beat him up and spit racial epithets until Moose Mason arrives to clean their collective clocks. Speck isn’t much nicer to Archie, as he tries to step in and stop a fight, only to find his old frenemy Reggie has once again made a terrible impression, leading Archie to take a punch meant for Mr. Mantle. As the issue ends, we find that Archie’s infantry group is going to be sent to North Africa, while Betty watches the news from home, all about how things are getting very dangerous… in North Africa.
REALISM IN RIVERDALE
It’s sometimes hard to remember that these are the same archetypical characters I’ve been reading about in wacky stories since I was in grade school, but at this point, it’s no surprise that Archie Comics is willing to experiment. Moreover, they’re able to gather creative teams like this, who can put together a realistic story that addresses hard truths about racism, about war, and about human nature. Waid & Augustyn make every one of the Riverdale regulars recognizably the same characters they’ve been since the 1940s while keeping the story grounded and painfully realistic. Peter Krause’s art in Archie 1941 #3 is likewise excellent, especially with regards to the character designs. His facial expressions are incredibly expressive and the body language of the characters is perfect, especially the defeated posture of Jughead as he realizes that he will be doomed to stay behind and deemed a coward.
BOTTOM LINE: A REALLY HARROWING (BUT ENTERTAINING) READ
Archie 1941 #3 is a perfect example of how to do comic-book drama, even with characters more commonly associated with comedy, and do it right, with art that tells a complete and complex story and writing that doesn’t shy away from even the darkest parts of United States history, earning a well-deserved 5 out of 5 stars overall. Like so many great stories, it isn’t something I ever expected to want, but now that I’ve read the first chapters, I very much want to see how it all ends.
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ARCHIE 1941 #3
It's the Archie book I didn't realize that I needed, featuring a dramatic historical tale that keeps the charm of Riverdale intact.