Archie’s girl problems get even weirder with a secret paramour and a reality show gig! Your Major Spoilers review of Archie #705 awaits!
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Sandy Jarrell
Colorist: Matt Herms
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Editor: Alex Segura and Jamie Lee Rotante
Publisher: Archie Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 12, 2019
Previously in Archie: A new era begins as the enchanting romance between Archie and Sabrina intensifies! But what does that mean for everyone else in Archie’s life?
A SHOCKING SWERVE!
We open with with I strongly suspect is a Jughead voice-over, all the better to make things feel more like the hit CW series, as he explains that everyone returned to Riverdale High just in time for something something murder mystery and also, Cheryl is running a “Most Eligible Bachelor” contest which has snared Archie is their victim… err, star. it quickly becomes clear that the entire thing has been manipulated by Betty and Veronica in the hopes of figuring out who his new secret girlfriend is, a plot point that might have carried more weight had it not been triumphantly trumpeted on the cover. Archie outsmarts the girls and chooses host Cheryl, forcing him into a sham relationship with the one person who won’t care, as long as it means better ratings, leaving B and V to worry that they’ve gone too far. They finally bury the hatchet over their long-lasting Archie rivalry, declaring themselves on the same page before the story makes it clear that they’re absolutely not. Meanwhile, Jughead and Reggie find a hidden room and Archie and Sabrina finally agree that neither of them wants to go public right now.
AS SEEN ON TV
First off, the big issue for me with Archie #705: Nothing really happens in it. We get Archie’s declaration in the early pages, and hints that there’s about to be conflict between Betty and Veronica over the woods that one wants to build over and the other wants to save, but otherwise, it’s a pretty dull read. I firmly believe that the creators are trying to capture the feel of the ongoing soap opera antics of the ‘Riverdale’ TV show without really doing the work necessary for those plots and moments to change mediums. What works and makes an exciting comic book won’t always make for an exciting program and vice versa, and this issue really seems to be trying to let the “actors” carry the weight of things. Even with the iconic Archie gang, whom everyone knows, as protagonists, it really doesn’t work. On the art side, things have a bit more zip, but it also turns everyone into a super-attractive cypher with heavy eyeshadow, even Archie himself. I do enjoy the softness of the linework and the expressiveness of the faces, but the fact that those faces are pretty much limited to one male and one female version, regardless of context, it’s a little less endearing.
BOTTOM LINE: I’M NOT FEELING IT
As a point of disclosure, I should note that the ‘Riverdale’ TV is not my cup of tea, nor am I the target audience, so this story emulating it is unsurprisingly not my thing. That said, Archie #705 suffers from a lot of meandering without a lot of setup or payoff, making it seem a bit pointless, with art that’s better than okay but still has enough issues that it affects more overall enjoyment, earning 2 out of 5 stars overall. Even if the book isn’t aimed at me, it should still be able to deliver a satisfying single-issue reading experience, and this one doesn’t quite stick that landing. The Archie/Sabrina pairing is interesting, so here’s hoping it makes for a more exciting read next time around.
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I appreciate that they're trying to create synergy between the various Archie interpretations out there, but this book had so much more life in the first issues of the reboot, making this issue something of a let-down.