Previously in Archie #4
Story: Mark Waid
Art: Veronica Fish
Coloring: Andre Szymanowicz with Jen Vaughn
Lettering: Jack Morelli
It never works out when a person does something bad for good reasons.
Last issue, Jughead and Betty put their plans in motion after witnessing Veronica Lodge put a very accommodating Archie through the wringer. The only thing to stop them is their relative inexperience in concocting devious schemes. Enter Reginald Mantle… town scoundrel and the ire of Riverdale’s entire female population.
Jug and Betty’s reluctant affiliation with Reggie already has an immediate effect on Archie’s perception of his best friends. It is and isn’t a surprising development given how receptive Andrews has been to Veronica’s beguiling appeal. Despite their best efforts, Archie’s now more smitten with Lodge than ever before… and she may genuinely like him as well.
The artist carousel continues to turn with Veronica Fish (Silk, Pirates of Mars) taking over illustrating duties for issue five. Like her colleagues Annie Wu and Fiona Staples, Fish offers another remarkable rendition of Riverdale with her penchant for thick lines and fluid strokes. Despite their differing styles, all three have an apparent command for creating energetic panels to match the flurry of activity Mark Waid concocts every issue.
It’s been harped on multiple times, but once more Waid has combined the right amounts of profundity and vulnerability within the Riverdale student body. Waid has continued to efficaciously inject these generally optimistic teens a tinge of earnestness so as to make them more relatable during even their most harebrained scenarios. There’s been no need to shake up their core personalities; a massive revision of that magnitude would be a grave disservice. If the first five issues has taught readers anything, Archie and company remain as entertaining as ever.
Though Waid plays on their particular eccentricities – Archie the klutz, Betty the tomboy, Ronnie the snob, etc – everyone, including the series’ lesser known characters, has slowly grown beyond their simple roles (Sheila Wu being the strongest example). Issue five formally introduces Reggie Mantle, a lead character who never had much of a chance to shine in the spotlight like the rest of his pals. Mantle is still the crass and insensitive bully, as evidenced by Reggie’s reluctance to help Betty and Jughead with their conspiracy. In fact, his enmity for Archie is outstandingly intense, to the point that there must be a profound reason that’ll be unearthed in a future storyline. Although he loathes Andrews, Mantle’s curiosity in assisting the pair implies a meager desire to be a part of a group rather than be forever known as the school jerk.
Regardless of his off putting behavior, Reggie is goaded by Archie and the others, only to stoke the flame of hate that already burns so intensely. The damage has been done. Mantle is now considered more vile thanks to the questionable tactics he employed for Betty’s benefit, and Archie hates Reggie because he now can’t trust his closest friends. Revenge is on Reggie’s mind and everyone is a target.
Whoever said life in Riverdale isn’t interesting is going to learn real soon in the current arc!
Things became awfully serious real quick. Fresh off the Lipstick Incident revelation, Betty, Jughead and Archie’s mutual friendships are all at risk because of one rich brat. Be it gullibility or a blinding infatuation, Arch is going against his usual form and putting all responsibilities aside to appease the lofty expectations of the queen of high maintenance. Betty did ponder if Archie and Ronnie’s love could be legit but really now… they’re still in high school. For a 30-something male who tends to read some of the darkest, obscure, pitch black noir and crime comics one could get their hands on… Archie has been a damn enjoyable read!