The Spring Dance Brings A Shocking Development In Archie #31

by James Ferguson

The Spring Dance is in full swing and it looks like everything is working out. Archie is playing with Josie and the Pussycats, providing everyone with some solid music. Betty and Veronica are enjoying an evening of friendship. Jughead is making his way through the food. Oh, hey. Is that Reggie?  Forget everything I said about stuff working out.

Before we get to the big deal in Archie #31, I want to highlight some of the smaller moments that are peppered throughout the issue. As we’ve seen with the series to date, writers Mark Waid and Ian Flynn have a talent for seeding a storyline early, nurturing it over time to provide a big payoff. Case in point, the meeting between Jason and Cheryl Blossom and their convict father, Eddie has been building for months. More on that soon.
Midge and Moose are having a grand old time and they fit so well together. They make a sweet couple, so I can only hope Reggie doesn’t ruin this too. Seriously, he’s the worst. Principal Weatherbee is about to announce his retirement, so he’s seeing the school with a different light. I’m sure Archie will make his last days in the role memorable. Plus, Betty and Veronica are clearly still pining for Archie, so it will be interesting to see how this love triangle plays out over time. We’ll be watching for these plot threads to develop further in future issues.

Now, back to Eddie and the Blossoms. If you had any doubt that Jason and Cheryl were vapid money-hungry jerks, that will be gone after reading Archie #31. There’s this brief moment where it looks like they might be actual human beings, but that’s quickly washed away as their true nature is revealed. It even gives a hardened criminal like Eddie pause, making him wonder what he’s getting himself into.
Artist Audrey Mok highlights these characters well. Their personalities really come through. You can see how Jason and Cheryl look down on everyone else and basically swat away the folks they consider riff-raff. This contrasts so much with the good nature of literally EVERYONE ELSE in Riverdale except maybe Reggie. Have I mentioned how he’s the worst?

[**Spoilers for Archie #31 below!!]
Mok’s artwork, coupled with Kelly Fitzpatrick’s colors, work to lure you into a false sense of security. When Archie #31 starts, it looks like a dream dance. Everyone is having fun and smiling. The lights are bright and the music is pumping. Then a gun comes out.
This is a major turning point in tone. The gun is serious. Up until now, you wouldn’t know that guns exist in this universe. They’re such a foreign concept that its very appearance is shocking and more than a little uncomfortable. We might have been laughing earlier, but you could hear a pin drop when Eddie pulls the gun out. Now imagine how it looks when he points it at Archie.

The final two pages of Archie #31 underscore the severity of this situation as well as just how evil the Blossoms are. I don’t see how any of them can go back from this. How do you go to school with someone after seeing how they acted when their dad pulled a gun on you? These characters have been so well established and I care so much about them now that my fists are clenched as I’m thinking of how they could possibly get out of this. I need the next issue NOW.
Archie #31 from Archie Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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