A new era of Archie begins as the title reaches a milestone 700th issue. This comes with a new creative team and some new twists on the Riverdale gang. The summer has ended and Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica are coming back from their vacations and activities to get back to their lives. They all went their separate ways when the school year ended and they’ve quickly found that it’s not easy to get everything back to normal.
Central to this turmoil is Archie Andrews. The lovable clutz is not himself, and he’s not ready to share why that is just yet. Writer Nick Spencer alludes to the mystery a few times, but it isn’t until the final pages of this issue that we get an idea of what’s really at work and it’s a doozy. Of course, I’m not going to reveal that here because the cliffhanger is just too good and it’s best experienced first hand.
This isn’t the only mystery that Spencer hints at. He subtly drops hints throughout the entire issue about every single person in the cast. It’s clear that he has a lot up his sleeve for his tenure on the title and I can’t wait to see it play out.
Artist Marguerite Sauvage is the perfect choice to illustrate Archie. She brings a romantic and gorgeous flair to the series. Everyone is their best self and there are no ugly people in Riverdale. There’s such an energy and life to these characters. That’s part of what has allowed them to stand the test of time for decades. They are so familiar and feel like people we grew up with because in many ways, we did. That comes through in every panel of this comic.
Sauvage plays with those subtle hints at story, too. There’s a terrific exchange between Betty and Veronica where there are three panels that are almost identical. The only thing that changes is where Betty is looking and this says SO much due to the topic at hand. Although the two of them aren’t talking about the elephant in the room, it is clearly all that they’re talking about through their facial expressions.
Further showing what a total pro she is, Sauvage leaves all the right spots for letterer Jack Morelli to come in and guide us through the story. The word balloons and captions serve as a visual road map that not only moves us along, but allows to take in every gorgeous image of the comic.
Mark Waid left some pretty big shoes to fill with Archie, as his run was incredible. Fortunately, this new creative team picks up right where Waid left off and takes the series to new heights. I was already on the Archie bandwagon, but this book made me even more of a fan. It really does usher in a new era for Archie that looks partially influenced by the Riverdale TV show, without losing the good-natured fun that has defined these characters for generations. Bottom line: buy this book.