Review: Two Takes on Archie #3

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Archie #3, cover by Fiona Staples, Archie Comics 2015 Archie #3

Mark Waid (script), Fiona Staples (art), Andre Szymanowicz (colors), Jack Morelli (letters)
Archie Comics
September 30, 2015

Disclaimer: This review may contain spoilers and is based on an advanced review copy from Archie Comics.

What were your first impressions of Archie #3?

Ginnis Tonik: Maybe it was just me, but there was something about this issue that felt off. I think the thing that most excited me about this issue was learning that we finally get to learn about the lipstick incident in the next issue. I liked seeing Ronnie, but the pacing felt off? Am I wrong?

Ardo Omer: It’s a feeling I’ve been having since issue #2, so it’s not only you. I don’t feel like I’m getting … enough from these issues. I don’t feel like I did after reading issue #1. The excitement is wearing off.

Gin: I didn’t feel that way about issue #2, but this issue just didn’t give me the same sparks, though I did enjoy seeing more of Veronica.

Ardo: Yes. I loved more of Veronica in this story.

Gin: Now, I need Cheryl Blossom!

How do you feel about the reboot thus far? What it is doing and where it is headed?

Gin: Like so many third issues this one felt like a slight dip in pacing and storytelling for me, but I feel like the essence of Archie is still there, but the updated tweaks are pretty spot-on, like Ronnie being a reality television star.

Ardo: Veronica being a reality star felt very Veronica. I’m used to a laid back and chill Jughead, so it was weird seeing him be so proactive when it comes to Veronica/Archie. I honestly have no idea where the reboot is going, and I’m not sure if I’m as invested as I was after reading issue #1.

Gin: Invested is the right word, because I was chomping at the bit for issue #1-3, but am less anticipatory of issue #4 … well, except for Annie Wu on art. I am by no means giving up on the series, but the structure is just feeling a little off to me.

Archie #3

What did you think of Veronica’s portrayal?

Gin: I dug it, though the way she talks throws me off—she sounds like a PR mogul, but that does make sense with her revised background. I also think the art is so point—the bob is sharp, the bodycon dress, and on-trend booties with a structured jacket, not to mention those snooty/mean-girl facial expressions. Also, we got a little humanity, but she was still largely insufferable, so, that’s Ronnie to me. (It is also why I love her.)

Ardo: She’s the Veronica we know and love. I like that they added depth to her character and some vulnerability. They teased a friendship between her and Betty, which is something that I really want to happen. I think you can still have conflict between friends, and I wasn’t a fan of them being depicted as adversaries in the past. That last Veronica outfit is to die for FYI.

Gin: Did you read at the end how Waid wants to pull away from the frenemies thing, because he doesn’t really understand it? I think maybe frenemies is a very gendered experience, and it doesn’t surprise me that this is something Waid can’t wrap his brain around.

Ardo: It is very gendered, and done wrong, it can come across very catty. I wonder how a woman would approach the Betty and Veronica relationship from a frenemy standpoint, but I’m glad Waid is pulling away from it. I’d like a different take on this relationship.

Gin: I think I would only be comfortable with a woman writing that, and if it is done smartly, where it shows how this bizarre sort of thing is so often a reality in the world of young girls who are socialized to see one another as competition for male interest. But, glad Waid just said “nope, not going there,” and I am at least interested to see how that will be handled.

Art, art, art—whatcha think? Can Fiona Staples do any wrong? Is it even possible?

Gin: Obviously, no. But, do the chapter breaks and lettering work for you?

Ardo: I think the chapter breaks are what is causing the weird pacing issue. Also, I’m not a fan of the titles of those chapter breaks. They feel thrown in. Fiona Staples’ art is gorgeous, and I love her decision to give Veronica a bob. Andre Szymanowicz and Jen Vaughn’s colours are fantastic and essential to the feel of the series. That combo is what’s getting me to keep reading.

Gin: It seems like such a minor thing, but the chapter breaks really throw off my reading groove. I imagine they are trying to replicate the structure of older Archie comics, but I don’t know if that works for a comic that certainly acknowledges Archie as its origin, but is really very different in terms of structure.

Ardo: Agreed. Give nods to the original comic, but don’t let it undermine what you’re trying to achieve. I wouldn’t mind if they got rid of it completely.

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About Author

Smashing the patriarchy with glitter, pink lipstick, and cowboy boots. You can follow her on Instagram @ginnistonik

2 Comments

  1. I dunno I’m not really feeling it yet , of course I ordered the issues and waiting for it to arrive . I really don’t like the reality star Kardashian clone , the bob hair cut is boring , and what’s the deal with her giving him that angry face that soon ? Personally Veronica and Jughead are the best characters of the Archie series , the rest of the characters are flat and average . I read comics to get away from average , and Betty and Archie are dull . I would enjoy to see Jughead and Veronica be fully explored because the two are dark and light mirrors to each other . It would be fun to see those two challenge each other as the male/female yin yang . Their has always been this chemistry between them , that is there but is lazily ignored by the writers , in their constant quest to have her outwit Betty over Archie . Veronica and Archie have no chemistry at all . Jughead however is perfect for her in a Kali/Shiva way . Veronica also forces Jughead to confront himself , all the years he binge eats and hides under a mask of cynicism ,indifference and a repressed sexuality , she shatters it .
    Yin/Yang in an Archie comic .

  2. I’m enjoying the reboot and the graphics are wonderful.

    Guessing from the reveals about Betty’s conflicted sense of self and the peer pressure that we see her experiencing – to conform away from her “tomboy” persona – I imagine the lipstick incident will turn out to have been a comment from Archie suggesting that she try some on sometime, which perhaps hurts and offends her. In any case, it’s very interesting to see them zero in directly on this aspect of girlhood. I’m seeing the makings of a much more realistic and nuanced Betty than we’ve ever seen.

    I like Jughead as he fits into the dynamic between his friends, but I don’t find myself interested in reading the Jughead focused series. I did like his backstory integrated into the narrative though. Maybe I just like my Archie universe all in one place.