The Word “Choose” Has Never Meant More Than In Archie #27

by James Ferguson

After an incredible cliffhanger last month, Archie is back with top notch teenage drama. Dilton tells Betty how he feels about her. Veronica asks Archie if he still has feelings for Betty. I remember that before this series started, the only reference I would make to Archie Comics was in the joke about the main character being able to choose between Betty and Veronica. We see that exact scenario play out here, and it is absolutely gripping.

Even though this issue picks up immediately after the last one ended, you have to wait a little longer to see how these two massive events are going to play out. It could be a bit maddening at first, but both sides get a chance for some satisfying closure. Artist Audrey Mok does a great job in mirroring both Archie and Dilton as they’re forced to walk away from the situation for a little while. They’re polar opposites on the emotional spectrum, and at one point they even pass each other on the sidewalk without noticing one another.

Dilton’s story is so real that it’s easy to get swept up in it. This is probably because it’s a very relatable situation. He’s the nerd with a crush on the popular girl. Betty’s response to Dilton’s profession of love gives the guy some hope and inspiration as he immediately goes to his workshop to begin creating new inventions to help his friends. Even though things are going well, you can see the hesitation in him, like he can’t believe that he has the chance to be this lucky in love just yet. That kind of thing just doesn’t happen to guys like him.

The mirroring of characters is used again in Archie #27 and used to great effect, this time between Archie and Veronica. It shows how two people can be so close to one another, yet so diametrically apart when it comes to emotion. This scene takes place at night so everything is in shadow, although the light of alarm clocks and cellphones creates a small halo in the darkness. This is a nice touch by colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick that draws your attention to these key spots in the panels, letting you know how much time has passed and that both characters are still restless.

The wise-beyond-his-years Jughead Jones spells everything out for Archie in an awesome scene. He shows Archie why he can’t decide something like this, and how this is also the quality that makes him a great friend to everyone. It’s brilliant. This is followed by an eye-opening scene that forces Archie to make a decision. His answer surprises himself.

Archie #27 could have gone your typical way. The title character could have made a choice and rushed into the arms of a beautiful woman. This isn’t how real life works, though. Writer Mark Waid pulls out some twists and turns that make this book so enthralling. It is entirely unpredictable. The ending of this issue is a little bit frustrating as even Archie points out that things are basically right back where they started, but I would not change a thing. This was an amazing journey and I can’t wait to see where the comic goes next.

After seeing Betty’s response to all these male suitors, it’s no wonder everyone has a crush on her. She is such a stable, intelligent young woman in that she can read everyone around her. I wouldn’t be surprised if she became a psychologist later on in life. I guess that’s why she’s considered “The Heart of Riverdale.”

Archie delivers strong, emotional drama like no other book in this medium. It’s almost stressful reading it, as you begin to hope and pray that certain characters end up together. This becomes hard to do as we’re so invested in their lives. I want to see them all happy, but that’s not life. Life has heartbreak and sadness, and that’s normal. You can appreciate the good times more because you went through some bad ones.

Archie #27 is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.