A whole lot of drama is unfolding at the Riverdale High Spring Dance. It’s not just relationship troubles, either. See, Eddie Sheers, the biological father of Cheryl and Jason Blossom, has everyone held hostage and he’s swinging a gun around. He’s determined to cash in his kids for a fat pay day and escape. Archie Andrews is not going to take this sitting down. This is a lot more dangerous than the usual antics he gets into though.
Archie #32 begins with such stark seriousness. A gun feels unnatural in the town of Riverdale. It does not belong there, so it’s a shocking moment every time Eddie flashes it, especially when he points it at someone. Although he’s only one man with one gun, he has everyone in the auditorium stuck. No one knows what to do as this is a danger they’re not familiar with.
Thankfully, writers Mark Waid and Ian Flynn break the tension. As much as I love Riverdale on The CW, that level of insanity needs to stay on TV. The comic has a different kind of fun and excitement and we see that on display as Betty, Veronica, and Jughead come up with a plan to weaponize Archie’s luck (or lack thereof). It’s absolutely brilliant.
They basically use Archie’s good nature to gently nudge him in the direction of several items throughout the auditorium that he will undoubtably bump into, fall over, or otherwise destroy. We’ve seen examples of this in just about every issue of the series to date, so it’s a no-brainer.
Artist Audrey Mok captures these theorized clumsy acts perfectly, showing how each one might play out once Archie gets nearby. They’re increasingly bizarre and hilarious. You have to wonder how he could possibly get into these situations.
This shift in tone comes through in Kelly Fitzpatrick’s colors too. Archie #32 starts out with a slightly darker look, even with all the streamers and party favors. It gets brighter as the story continues and Archie’s luck kicks into high gear.
For the plan to work, the kids need a distraction. This comes from a viral video of a barking dog. Letterer Jack Morelli shows just how distracting this is by the musical woofs that practically cover the page. It makes it difficult to look at anything else at times, which is exactly the point. It takes Eddie’s eyes off his goal long enough for Archie to get moving.
As horrible as Cheryl and Jason Blossom are, they don’t deserve a father like Eddie. It’s funny to see how their feelings for the man change over the course of their encounter with him. When he first showed up, they were enthusiastic about flying away with him because they had just gotten into a huge fight with their mother. Now they see his true colors and how he was just going to use them to cash out. The look of righteous indignation they display is pitch perfect. They turn their scorn on Eddie in full force.
It’s actually pretty awesome to see how the story came together, especially since this is the finale to the current series. Waid & Flynn tie up a number of plot threads that have been woven through the comic for some time. We see how the town of Riverdale came together during a potential tragedy, and how the families react, both positively and negatively. The comic ends with a very fitting closer that serves as an end, but not the end.