The saga of the secret summer romance between Archie and Sabrina continues as we go back to where it all started. Archie #706 showed how they passed by each other like two ships in the night, sending Archie into a car accident. Fortunately, Sabrina was nearby to lend a hand…or spell to help him out. This leads to an adorable first date filled with all kinds of teenage drama.
At first you might think this is an unlikely couple, but the stars really aligned for this relationship. Archie is in Riverdale by himself since all his friends left for summer jobs and vacations. He’s lonely and here comes Sabrina, the cute and lonely girl from Greendale looking for a bit of excitement. It’s interesting to see how this evolves over a short amount of time, going from uncertain flirting to more solid ground.
I especially liked how Sabrina stands up for herself. She doesn’t want to be Archie’s summer fling, used for company since Betty and Veronica aren’t around. This is foreign to Sabrina since she doesn’t really have any peers. Archie’s life revolves around his friends and Sabrina has no frame of reference for that, but she realizes that she doesn’t want to be compared to the other girls that came before.
Writers Nick Spencer and Mariko Tamaki adds some great nuance to this relationship, steadily building the tension over time to the point where I was practically screaming at the comic for these two kids to just kiss already. You understand how and why they got together and it’s really special. I’m just curious now as to why it’s kept secret, but that’s what the rest of this arc is about, right?
Artist Jenn St-Onge is the perfect person to illustrate this young romance. Her style complements the adorable qualities of both characters and the flirty tension between them. So much is sad in a simple, shy glance as these two try to figure each other out. It comes down to the details, particularly with the scruff on Archie’s face and the freckles on Sabrina’s.
The characters also look a little younger than normal, more akin to their actual high school ages instead of what you might see on Riverdale. This adds to their innocence which contrasts with the supernatural quality of Sabrina’s powers when she swoops in to rescue Archie. It feels a little unnatural, like it doesn’t belong in this town.
Colorist Matt Herms surrounds Sabrina in a purple glow, like she’s a guardian angel swooping in from above. This comes into play later on in the issue, raising some questions about where and how Sabrina is using her powers. Obviously, Archie is oblivious to all of this, which adds to the mystery. Letterer Jack Morelli differentiates this as well with some black word balloons and white font.
Herms sets the tone for some of the date scenes, emphasizing the fleeting time of summer with some bright yellows and light blues. The sun shines brightly, perhaps mirroring the intensity of this budding romance as it could burn too quickly.
The more I learn about this relationship, the more adorable it becomes. It is the dictionary definition of a “meet-cute” with a pinch of the supernatural thrown in. Now that we know how it started, I can’t wait to see how it grows and becomes what we know it to be in the present day. These two found each other at a great time, when they most needed someone else in their lives. How will that change when things get back to normal?