Previously in Archie #10
Archie #11 | Writer: Mark Waid | Breakdowns: Ryan Jampole | Finishes: Thomas Pitilli | Coloring: Andre Syzmanowicz with Jen Vaughn | Letterer: Jack Morelli | Publisher: Archie Comics
The battle for Riverdale continues, but for the moment, the acrimony and derision that’s been rampant in the mayoral race had diverted to the high school talent contest. Now that Veronica is practically at Archie’s side, he believed the best way to improve Ronnie’s standing at Riverdale High was including her in Arch and Jug’s band. Yeah… that was an absolutely fantastic idea.
Succinctly put, Betty took great offense to Veronica harmonizing with her best friend and old beau, compelling Cooper to form her own band with their mutual friends. By the way, it’s nice to know Riverdale’s arts program is so proactive and effective in making virtually every student a musical whiz. Ultimately all the practices and talent show performances aren’t as important as Andrews and Cooper realize. The two finally come to terms with their tumultuous friendship, however Archie and Betty’s respective boos instantly dislike their renewed rapport.
Although Archie is clearly head over heels twice over for Veronica, Betty has been letting a good man down in Sayid. It’s unsure whether the attraction they shared has already waned (on Cooper’s side) or her preoccupation with Andrews has stifled their burgeoning relationship. Now that Betty’s vexations about Arch have finally ceased, she could put all her focus on Sayid. Given his expression while snooping on his girl, whatever special relationship Betty and Sayid may have developed is likely done. Remember, they are teenagers. Something will be blown out of proportion.
As usual, Mark Waid penned a whimsical issue that brushed a vibrant, spirited streak along earnest themes. Issue eleven was filled with memorable panels – many having to deal with Veronica’s dilemma in singing her best only when Archie was in sight. However the most poignant involved a parallel discussion between Archie and Jughead, and Betty and Sayid. In spite of their personal troubles, both truly are two sides of the same coin. Embittered and weary from constant band practices, Andrews and Cooper take time to recognize their faults and motivations for entering the contest. Under the bright lights of the stage and the raucous crowd below, both friends let go of the stress they endured the past few weeks and renew their bond. If only life could be so easy.
The most obvious development in issue eleven is the change in artistic talent once more. Thomas Pitilli and Ryan Jampole take over for Veronica Fish, maintaining the energetic and colorful flair Archie is known for while also placing their own stamp. Although the series has involved a carousel of illustrators, Symanowicz and Vaughn’s liberal use of colors and Waid’s consistently entertaining story arcs continue to captivate their readers. Nevertheless, it would be a boon to Archie if a regular artist could be attached to the book, if only to lock in that final piece of the puzzle that would assure a cohesive, distinct quality.
Archie #11 was a fun respite from the tension of Hiram Lodge’s mayoral campaign, which will only appear to reach new heights in coming issues. Tack on Ronnie and Sayid’s jealous streaks and well… no one ever claimed life with Archie was ever going to be without some drama.
This month’s variants were illustrated by Thomas Pitilli and Sanya Anwar!
Archie #11 = 8.3/10