Previously in Archie #9
Archie #10 | Writer: Mark Waid | Artist: Veronica Fish | Coloring: Andre Syzmanowicz with Jen Vaughn | Letterer: Jack Morelli | Publisher: Archie Comics
Talk about life blowing up in your face.
Ten months in and Mark Waid’s run on Archie has reached its penultimate issue with our titular teenager ruining lives and breaking hearts like he never has before. The goal of making Riverdale fresh and exciting and relevant again has been a wild success, however Waid has raised the stakes by immersing these youths in rather perilous situations never read before. With Veronica Fish drawing quite possibly her best work yet, Waid upheaves the relationships between the leads into somber territory.
Archie breaks the fourth wall with his faithful readers about how he flubbed up things (yet again!) in Riverdale. Regrettably, Andrews’ latest blunder has greater and far lasting repercussions than usual, effectively altering the status quo for everyone in the idyllic small town. At the epicenter is Betty Cooper and her immediate family. Thanks to a misguided attempt at social justice, they are shamed and derided during a startlingly offensive mayoral campaign.
We’re introduced to Greg Collier, resident faculty hard-ass at Riverdale High, Hiram Lodge’s lone opponent in the race for Mayor and as luck would have it, Betty Cooper’s uncle. Mr. Collier isn’t unaccustomed to Archie’s infuriating klutziness and let’s his frustrations be known. Only in this latest instance, Collier’s hootin’ and a-hollerin’ is caught on video by Veronica, who is dead set to make an example out of Riverdale’s “institution” as Andrews calls him. Considering how much turmoil Ronnie continues to dole out even under the best of intentions, her desire to right a wrong (that was entirely Archie’s fault) wouldn’t and doesn’t turn out well for the gruff yet beloved teacher/candidate.
Naturally, Mark Waid uses the current election cycle as inspiration for the contentiousness that occurs in issue ten. It’s not too surprising in the pages of Archie we’ve a billionaire industrialist sweeping everyone away by his assertive “leadership” and raging ego. And his opponent is a person who’s served his town for decades, yet those who were in the wrong as his students feel he’s a tyrant that cannot be trusted. Sound a bit familiar? Of course, Lodge’s campaign manager swipes the clip from Ronnie’s phone and uses it in an attack ad, putting the entire town in a tizzy. Betty is understandably pissed off at her ex and Archie attempts to fix things… unfortunately, he’s never had much success in those matters either.
Although Betty tried and failed to open Archie’s eyes to Veronica’s conceited, snobbish narcissistic ways, they’ve only been tempered recently in the privacy of the Andrews household. Yes, there’s more to Archie and Veronica than Cooper and the others could ever know, still, old habits die hard. Ronnie might have come down to earth some but she still hefts a major ivory tower complex (that now includes Archie). The old Veronica Lodge sprung up for only a moment and it was enough time to end the livelihood of a good man, just when Riverdale needed him the most.
Betty’s hatred of Veronica is justified to a degree, but all that changed when Arch had to open his big fat ginger mouth and spout the greatest piece of bull pucky ever uttered in this series’ short history. For a while we all assume Andrews was oblivious to Ronnie’s temperamental attitude because she was the hot new girl that had a mega crush on him. Perhaps Archie is less of a klutz and more of a damn imbecile. It’s only a comic… yet it that one panel doesn’t make you put you through some kind of emotion, you’re absolutely heartless. Imagine the rush of disappointment in knowing the person you thought about day and night, lovingly appreciated their quirks, studied every nuance of their being… that person… has absolutely zero insight into your character.
Hell, I’d shove them away too.
How in blazes will Archie dig himself out of this grave? Ronnie has become his new rock yet she’ll likely never be as steady as Betty. He indirectly assured Lodge his mayorship by trying to make things right with Collier, with half of Riverdale celebrating his actions and the other casting him as a pariah. And the kid hasn’t even turned 18 yet. Archie will have to mature beyond his years to repair all the damage caused or it’ll be a lonely, depressing school year.