Archie #706 Is A Pitch Perfect Romantic Comedy

by James Ferguson

Archie and Sabrina are the hottest couple that no one knows about. Their secret relationship has been a driving forces in the series since it relaunched, but how did this budding romance come to be? It’s time we go back to the early days of summer to see what this meet-cute was all about.

Artist Jenn St-Onge is a perfect fit for this flashback and for the world of Archie. Her style perfectly captures the emotions at play, and there are quite a lot of them here. These are teenagers after all. There’s an unmistakable look of innocence on the faces of both Archie and Sabrina. They’re going about their business, lamenting about their lame summer, completely unaware of the love that awaits them.
St-Onge gets to the heart of each character based on her designs. Archie is scruffy and clumsy, but you can’t help but love him. Meanwhile, Sabrina is adorable with a hint of mischief in her eye. I never noticed how their freckles match up until now. That’s an excellent touch.

Writers Nick Spencer and Mariko Tamaki shift the focus of this issue back and forth between Archie and Sabrina. The paths of each character mirror one another, often showing similar actions, albeit in another town. The tension steadily builds until they’re in the same place at the same time. I found myself aching for them to sit next to each other, knowing they eventually start dating. There’s some clever framing here to obscure their surroundings, so you can’t tell who’s sitting near who.
Their internal narration also reflects each other as they pass the storytelling baton back and forth. Letterer Jack Morelli differentiates Archie from Sabrina with uniquely colored caption boxes so it’s easy to tell them apart. This gives you an instant reminder as to who’s speaking.

Colorist Matt Herms fills Archie #706 with all the feelings of summer. The sun beats down on Archie as he works some odd jobs across Riverdale, while it glimmers through the trees as Sabrina goes for a fun walk through the woods. There’s a sense of freedom and anticipation as they go through their day, unaware of what is waiting for them.

Archie #706 is a pitch perfect romantic comedy. There’s a nice twist at the end, answering a question I’ve had since this relationship began. I won’t spoil that here. I was already intrigued by this clandestine romance, but now I’m even more interested as we get a glimpse as to how it began in the first place. This is the kind of storytelling that you can only do in Riverdale and it’s beautiful.
Archie #706 from Archie Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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