Archie #4 – Review
Writer – Mark Waid
Artist – Annie Wu
Colors – Andre Szymanowicz, Jen Vaughn Covers: Mahmud Asrar, Francesco Francavilla, Jaime Hernandez with Rosario “Tito” Peña, Joe Quinones, Paul Renaud
Letters – Jack Morelli
Publisher – Archie Comics
Ever since the first issue, this series has teased readers with the reason behind the break-up of Archie Andrews and Betty Cooper. The small town power couple had been friends forever and maybe dating just as long, what could possible end this? The event known as the Lipstick Incident and the mystery behind it is finally over. Archie #4 answers the question about the break up while also showing us what life was like before it. If there is any hope of a reunion the past must first be addressed.
The bulk of the story is told in flashbacks, showing us how happy Archie and Betty had been before the series started. Consisting of three chapters, readers follow Archie from present day lamenting over a candy bar reminding him of Betty to finally explaining to us about the break up. While I was very eager to find out the meaning behind the Lipstick Incident I was a bit disappointed to finally learn what it was. Without giving away any spoilers, it all boiled down to Archie saying some dumb boy things and Betty getting understandably upset.
While it didn’t have the dramatic payoff that I was waiting for, it was classic Archie putting his foot in his mouth. As in older stories, Archie’s lady troubles usually stem from Archie himself but the end of the story shows him playing a song for Veronica, so perhaps a new love is ready to form.
As with previous issues, the artwork is top notch. However, a new artist is taking the lead this time around but despite this, the style is very similar to what has been already established. Much like with classic Archie comics where many different artists worked on stories but overall everything looked very consistent, the same holds true with the modern retelling. Colors are bright though I did notice a stronger emphasis on use of black, be it lines or shading. Character movements are very organic and the facial expressions are at an all time high, especially when Betty and Archie argue and ultimately break up.
Now that Archie #4 has answered one of the most burning questions in the series, things can only move forward. Despite the break up, it’s clear both parties still have feelings for one another but they also are open to moving on or at least trying to do so. Another classic Archie story is also included in this issue, this one tackling Archie going on a “date” with Betty, who likes him but he doesn’t notice. Mirroring the story just told, Archie puts his foot in his mouth and bungles things with Betty. I find the parallels between these new and old stories to be one of the highlights of this series for sure.