Cheryl and Jason Blossom are a pair of seemingly normal kids in Riverdale. They’re wealthy, popular and likeable-but they also harbor a deep, dark secret-one of the Blossom Twins is the Anti-Christ. Both want the title, and no one in Riverdale is safe.
Blossoms 666 TP opens in the morgue, then transitions to Riverdale High, where “It’s not quite Summer Vacation yet.” The beautiful, rich Blossom twins are throwing a huge party, and they are pulling strings all over the place to make sure everyone can make it. Everything seems pretty “Archie” so far, right? Except that morgue thing.
The tone shifts pretty quickly, and there are several “what-the-everloving-hell?” moments that will make you go back to the opening sequence and wonder who exactly is under that blood spattered sheet.
When asked to describe the book, Cullen Bunn replied,
With Blossoms 666, we reveal that there is an ugly, dark river of corruption and deceit running beneath the beauty and cheer of Riverdale. The Blossom twins, Cheryl and Jason, are taking the oars of the ferry, guiding Archie, Betty, Jughead, Veronica, and the gang on a cruise that could, quite literally, lead straight to Hell.
That’s about right. Bunn takes the most wholesome, apple pie community in American pop culture and turns it completely sideways before anyone notices. There are warning signs throughout, but nothing really screams danger until the situation is too far gone to reel back in. It’s a classic boiling frog.
One of the things I love about Bunn joints is his attention to interpersonal relationships, specifically between siblings. The Blossoms have this whole Kathryn Merteuil/Sebastian Valmont dynamic, but with infinitely higher stakes. That whole secret sibling rivalry for the throne of the Dark Lord. No, not that Dark Lord. The older one. The REALLY older one.
Much of the shock value of the book are owing to the art by Laura Braga and Matt Herms. Blossoms 666 fits right into the aesthetic of the other Archie Comics titles, which intensifies the betrayal when the plot turns. Everything seems to check out, right up to the point where it doesn’t. Those splashes of blood come out of nowhere. Reggie beaten and bloodied, tied to a tree? Wait. Hold up. I mean, the dude’s an entitled jerk, but…
There’s been a noticeable shift in horror over the last several years. The genre has been steadily moving away from the ridiculously complex setups and implausible scenarios that have long defined it, to a much more relatable, real world approach. The really scary stuff, stuff that will keep you up at night, is the stuff that seems like it might just actually happen. That’s where Blossoms 666 lives. Five degrees to the left of reality.
Everything about Blossoms 666 is deeply unsettling. Watching characters you’ve known and loved for decades being manipulated into situations straight out of Needful Things? Yup. That’ll do it.
Blossoms 666 TP, collects issues #1 – #5, Archie Comics, released 16 October 2019. Story by Cullen Bunn, Art by Laura Braga, letters by Jack Morelli, color by Matt Herms, graphic design by Kari McLachlan, creative consultant Shannon Goldwater, published by Jon Goldwater, editors Alex Segura and Jamie Lee Rotante, associate editor Stephen Oswald, assistant editor Vincent Lovallo, Editor-In-Chief Victor Gorelick.