It’s the moment that no one ever thought we’d see… and YOU ARE THERE! Retroactively, anyway… Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Archie #601 awaits!
Writer: Michael Uslan
Penciler: Stan Goldberg
Inker: Bob Smith
Colorist: Glenn Whitmore
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Publisher: Archie Comics
Cover Price: $2.50
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $4.00
Previously in Archie: Since 1942, Archie Andrews has been trapped in a cycle, unable to choose between the cute rich girl beyond his station and the beautiful girl next door who adores him. Many treatises have been devoted to the question of which girl he should settle down with, all making valid points (especially the ones that tell them both to run away from him, sometimes as a couple), but in Archie #600, young Mister Andrews took an unprecedented step before his high school graduation, and popped the question to Veronica.
After finding Memory Lane, Archie goes for a walk into an alternate future (a cute bit of meta storytelling) and views what might happen in his future, if he were to choose Veronica. Most of Riveerdale seems to be worried and/or kibitzing in his life, though, worrying about Betty Cooper’s reaction to it all. He gathers his groomsmen (Jughead, Chuck, Reggie, Dilton and Moose) for a wacky tuxedo fitting, while Veronica is happy to see Betty agreeing to be part of her bridal party. Even the media shows up, proving that anything can be news in Riverdale, but Archie is distracted by a conversation he needs to have.
That may well be the sweetest Archie moment ever (even though Bettty’s eyes are a little terrifying in panel six.) And then, we get the ceremony itself, and everyone is there!
Well, everyone but Cosmo The Merry Martian, who had a previous commitment on Arcturus, but sent and Instant Pot. Apparently, you can make short ribs that fall right off the bone! Archie even has a quiet moment with Reggie where they admit that, even as rivals, they’re always gonna be friends. it’s a nice moment for Reggie, who gets a particularly vicious version of the Villain Ball sometimes. A food fight breaks out, Betty and Veronica hug it out, and Archie forgets to make plans for the honeymoon, only to find out how good it is to be filthy rich.
Of course, the life of a businessman CONTROLLING all that money is less to his liking…
I personally love the name dropping here (Tom Troy is Silver Age Archie Comics superhero The Fly, who was in fact an attorney, while Joe Higgins is The Shield), but the upshot is that a slacker/musician/time traveler/part-time superhero just isn’t the man to handle the massive Lodge fortune. And things aren’t gonna get any less stressful for the exhausted Arch…
Spoilerites with long memeories will recall that this six-issue arc was split in half, three issues showing us Archie’s married life with Ronnie, followed by three with Betty and eventually launching ‘Life With Archie’, a book that continues both stories up until his death. That’s not a joke, either. Archie has gotten pretty existential in the last couple of decades. As for Archie #601, it’s nice to see a big party with all the friends from Pepper to the Pussycats to the criminally underused Dilton and I think that it makes perfect sense the way events roll out, even if it does imply a lot of off-panel Riverdale sex and even if Goldberg’s art is occasionally strangely bulbous, it still earns 3 out of 5 overall.
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Archie chooses his lady love, but the complications are just beginning... It's interesting, but the art is a little bit off? It's an interesting exercise, in any case.