After the bombshells dropped in Archie #700, I thought we would take some time and dig into all this drama. It’s clear that that milestone issue was just the beginning as Archie #702 is packed with just as many jaw-dropping moments. All this as the police are investigating Rick Mantle’s disappearance and Archie & Sabrina are carrying on a secret romance. This comic gives the Riverdale TV show a run for its money.
What sets Archie apart is how it balances the drama with humor. For example, Jughead is being interrogated by the police in an early scene and his mind is clearly somewhere else. He’s wondering what’s up with his best pal, Archie (as are Betty and Veronica) and could not care less about the questions from the police.
This plays out in such a fun way, making Jughead look like the smartest person in the room as he’s juggling multiple conversations at once. Writer Nick Spencer makes this scene flow like a Marx Brothers bit with some fast-paced dialogue and snappy lines.
Marguerite Sauvage and Sandy Jarrell split up the art duties for Archie #702 with the former handling the first four pages and the latter taking care of the rest. Jarrell gets close enough to Sauvage’s style so it’s not too much of a change, however his pencils are a bit more angular. This makes for some occasional awkward poses or sharp expressions. Overall, the characters still look just as beautiful as ever. I don’t think that ugly people are allowed in Riverdale.
The artwork aids in the humor of this issue as well. There’s a great scene where Betty & Veronica are in Pop’s trying to figure out who Archie’s secret love might be when Sabrina walks in to pick up some food. Jarrell frames the sequence so that Sabrina pops up just as they have an idea. They can’t see what’s right under their nose. Granted, this could be some sly witchcraft from the teenage witch.
Letterer Jack Morelli weaves the word balloons around this perfectly, making it look like the exchange between Pop and Sabrina in the background is part of the conversation between Betty and Veronica in the foreground. It works to make the scene flow very well and keeps the comedic timing on point.
While everyone in Riverdale looks beautiful, they really come alive with Matt Herms‘ colors. He brings a dreamy, romantic tone to every scene, even those with a little more drama or tension. There are some panels that could be mistaken for a cover of a harlequin novel with how smoky and mysterious the characters can appear.
Overall it’s a welcoming environment and one you want to be a part of. This is just one of the reasons that Archie and the gang have stood the test of time. You want to hang out with all of them.
This issue is packed with juicy tidbits about some of our favorite characters. I would have been content with the two mysteries that started out this arc. Instead, we get those and so much more. Each plot thread is carefully pulled along and given some time to grow so nothing ever feels confusing or overwhelming. In short, this is one exciting comic.