Archie: Volume Three

August 25, 2017 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, )

archie3Archie: Volume Three by Mark Waid & Joe Eisma

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I’ve been reading the Archie books for as long as I can remember. I have memories of begging my parents to buy me the newest digest on display at the grocery store, and I remember reading them over and over again. I had my favorite characters, and I took sides on the whole Betty/Veronica running plot (Team Betty!), so it’s safe to say I was invested in the series as a kid.

The thing is, I don’t remember Cheryl Blossom. At all. I might have been too old to be reading Archie when she was introduced (Wikipedia says that was 1982), but even if I was, she didn’t make an impression. The way Waid introduced her in this volume made it clear she was an established character he was re-introducing, but for me it was all new. It didn’t feel like Waid was expecting the reader to know the character in order to not have to create her backstory, but it did feel like he was playing to the audience more with her character.

She’s not a likable character (she’s not intended to be), but she’s being presented as a third interest for Archie’s affections. While Archie is still the klutzy, clueless teenager he’s always been, Waid hasn’t presented Archie as being so clueless that he won’t see through her act. Maybe that’s forthcoming; this volume is more interested in establishing her character and putting events into place to bring her to Riverdale. Regardless, I’ll be interested in seeing how Waid puts the two character together.

As I said above, this book is all about Cheryl and getting her to Riverdale, but all of the events leading us that way feel forced. It made some sense for Hiram Lodge to send Veronica to a European boarding school at the end of Volume Two, but it still felt strained. Waid even succeeds in making her return feasible, but Cheryl’s move was a little too pat to be believable. The pieces fit well enough, and thinking back on it, I can’t see where Waid cheated to pull it together, but I’m not sure why he felt the need to move Veronica to Europe to do it.

Waid has done a good job so far with reinventing Archie for the modern world while staying true to the characters, but it feels like he stumbled with this arc. Now that the characters are all back on one place, the story should pick up and get back to what it’s done well so far, but getting there was a bit of a disappointment.

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