Previously in Archie #12
Archie #13 | Writer: Mark Waid with Lori Matsumoto | Artist: Joe Eisma | Coloring: Andre Szymanowicz | Letterer: Jack Morelli | Publisher: Archie Comics
The first chapter of issue 13 – Worlds Apart – does an excellent job in conveying the loneliness and despair Archie feels after having the love of his young life suddenly torn from him. In a mere ten panels drawn by Morning Glories’ Joe Eisma, the heartache both Archie and Ronnie feel in their current circumstances is an all too real experience most of us readers have faced. It truly is hard to let a person go, especially if neither one ever wanted their relationship to end. Andrews knows what happened not too long ago yet he still can’t help but imagine Veronica by her side, and vice versa.
With exception to Archie and Betty mirroring each other’s strife in chapter three, the majority of issue 13 is narrated by Veronica, as she copes with her surroundings and newfound classmates in Switzerland. Hiram clearly cannot shake off both his embarrassing political loss and the Andrews, ensuring his darling sweetums princess has absolutely no way to communicate with anyone from Riverdale. Lodge slowly lets down her wall and opens up to the first person who appears genuine and interested in her plight: Cheryl Blossom. The ginger vixen was always a controversial character during Archie’s historic run (as evidenced by this issue’s backstory), but Waid spun his magic in modernizing an already killer femme into a true, dyed-in-the-wool, stone cold backstabber of a she-devil.
Seriously, Regina George could take a few lessons from Cheryl on how to be more evil.
Before getting into the nitty gritty, Veronica recalls her first week at Lycee Camembert, a remote boarding school for girls – substantially funded by her father, the thin-skinned grumpasaurus. Having no other recourse but to make the best of her new situation, Ronnie excels in her classes and electives, and forms cursory social circles with her affluent classmates. All seems well until Blossom slithers her way past Lodge’s defenses. Cheryl’s reputation as a wild child is impressive even to Veronica as both were on the same reality show, only the former managed to create a ratings boom by literally bringing down the house. With fire. From molotov cocktails. And this is the person Ronnie decides to finally confide her deepest feelings. What the what?!
For us the red flags would be popping up everywhere but we have to remember that Lodge is emotionally compromised. Without Archie, Veronica is left with a massive hole in her heart. Cheryl saw fierce competition in the form of Lodge but likely never expected her to vomit out all her feelings for a boy thousands of miles away. In any case, Blossom was prepared to throw a “birthday party” for fellow classmate Julia Finch. The disdain for Finch is quite apparent as Cheryl treats her more like a barista than a member of the student body. Enrolled in the lycee through a scholarship, Finch was instantly derided by the elite for being given the opportunity to earn a superior education. Despite being looked down upon, Julia remains fairly content about her place in this insular world. This sentiment cannot stand as Cheryl must raze a person to ash in order to feel a mere hint of satisfaction.
Of course, Veronica couldn’t have known she was in on the horrible joke Cheryl and her crew were readying for Julia; by the time she had known, the damage had already been done. Finch is emotionally defeated, the burgeoning friendship between her and Veronica is irreversibly destroyed, and Lodge is the odd girl out thanks to Blossom manipulating her reputation online as a scheming, conceited bitch. As Cheryl states proudly in the final panels while leering at Archie’s photo, she’s just getting warmed up. The game is on and the very love Ronnie and Arch share is in jeopardy. Veronica must find the strength to take on her greatest rival, and in this case her best chances could be to fight fire with fire.
Archie #13 = 9.5/10