Previously in Archie #11
Archie #12 | Writer: Mark Waid | Breakdowns: Ryan Jampole | Finishes: Thomas Pitilli | Coloring: Andre Syzmanowicz with Jen Vaughn | Letterer: Jack Morelli | Publisher: Archie Comics
Remember the good ol’ days during high school when we’d worry about our grades, wonder what university we’d get in, try to save up enough cash to buy a hooptie… and oh yeah, constantly spar with a billionaire windbag because his trust fund daughter just so happens to be in love with you?
Neither do I. But boy oh boy, is the twelfth issue of Archie a whopper!
Mark Waid has written both Archie and Betty into their own corners with their equally insecure mates in Veronica Lodge and Sayid Ali. We’re all fairly sure A & B are nothing more than best friends (They promise! For the umpteenth time already!) however Ronnie and Sayid have taken the news with a healthy amount of skepticism. Furthermore, Hiram Lodge adds more fuel to the fire with his erratic behavior that could spell doom for not just Archie and Veronica but all of Riverdale.
Twelve issues in and Waid continues to impress with his ease in ushering these 75-year-old teenagers into the millennium. Who would have ever expected Andrews to use the term “ghosting”? Perhaps readers younger than this reviewer don’t find it as humorous and whimsical but it’s fantastic. These nuances have lightened the unusually somber subject matter in the last few issues, which culminates in a striking turn of events between the Lodges and Andrews, and Betty and Sayid.
After Ronnie and Ali witnessed Betty and Archie hug it out last issue, both immediately began to think the worst in spite of that moment being nothing more than a friendly embrace. Readers probably expected Veronica to overreact to catastrophic levels but she was as cool as a cat when compared to Sayid. Unlike Lodge, who remained mum for most of the issue, Ali became extremely possessive, a trait that would be considered uncharacteristic if we actually knew more about him. What’s difficult to accept is Cooper’s motivation to “try harder”, meaning that she finds herself partly at fault for not giving Sayid the time he believes he’s owed. We all hope Betty will eventually put her foot down and stomp Ali’s passive-aggressiveness into the dirt, but for the moment she accepts Sayid’s frustration because Cooper believes he doesn’t fully understand the dynamic between her and Arch.
What Betty may realize eventually is Sayid doesn’t want to accept anything but his narrow, immature view of how relationships should work.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Veronica remained hurt from the sight of Archie and Betty having a moment but believed herself to be responsible for Andrews going back to Cooper. Betty eventually visited Veronica knowing how much Archie is losing his mind in not getting a single text from his best girl. After all the plotting and scheming and one-upsmanship by the girls, they finally come to an impasse and recognize both love Archie in their own way. Betty has seen a change for the better in Veronica, and thanks to Andrews and his family’s acceptance, Ronnie has found a love that’s solely lacking within her estate. It was probably the most profound panels in Archie yet, revealing an emotional depth the girls never truly exhibited in their near-century of publication.
In the midst of these relationship troubles, the election for mayor had concluded and the winner is… an independent candidate! Naturally, Hiram was peeved. Well, more than peeved. Lodge was so-mad-he-couldn’t-sleep-and-decided-to-pack-everything-in-the-middle-of-the-night-and-never-look-back-because-I-can’t-deal-with-failure peeved. His inability to grow and improve himself after defeat is a damaging flaw for his family, who were drawn as though they’ve dealt with Hiram’s manic behavior before. Being the excellent friend she is, Betty tried her damndest to help Archie reach his love before the Lodges took off. Alas, they were late and now their future – along with Betty and Sayid’s – is up in the air. No pun intended.
We’ll see next month if Andrews will continue to pine away for his estranged beloved or is lured in by the enthralling charisma of another redhead by the name of Cheryl Blossom!