Life With Archie #16
Written by: Paul Kupperberg (both stories)
Art by: Fernando Ruiz (Veronica), Pat and Tim Kennedy (Betty)
The newest issue of “Life With Archie” is one of the most eagerly awaited yet, for good reason: it’s the wedding of the adult version of Kevin Keller to his beau, newly-created character Clay Walker. (Yes, SPOILERS ahead.) Clay’s an African-American medical doctor now-Lt. Keller meets while recovering from an injury sustained during an unnamed war in the Middle East.
The wedding itself, while important, doesn’t take time away from the rest of the usual “Life” storylines: In the Veronica setting, Archie confronts Veronica (in a very blunt, public way) on her “spoiled rich girl” behavior from the past few issues (now making tabloids); Reggie continues to push his reality show idea on Betty; part of Fred Mirth’s past is revealed; and Ethel confronts Jughead about his behavior of late.
Over in Veronica, Archie’s “multi-tasking” gets taken to, well, task, by Betty and Coach Clayton; Reggie’s investigation of Ronnie’s missing plane continues; Ethel gets hired (reluctantly, and for good reason) by Fred Mirth; Chuck and Nancy make an appearance, where Nancy tells a still-queasy Midge “good news”; and Max, one of Archie’s students, tries to befriend Georgia.
Looks like they found another plot twist regarding Ethel/the whole parallel universe scenario. Hiring as a secretary your girlfriend’s alternate-Earth counterpart’s a new one… I don’t think even DC’s Earth-1 and Earth-2 tackled that. Nancy and Midge, of course, are easy to see coming, though wonder when Midge will see the same thing.
As for Kevin’s side of the issue, it was nicely done. While there’s been gay weddings in other comics (less so for DC and Marvel, for various reasons), this one comes in a comic children (well, older children, per the soap opera storylines) might get to see. Kevin and Clay’s nuptials are presided over by Riverdale’s mayor (Moose in “Veronica,” a newly created character in “Betty”). Given that, I’ll assume Riverdale’s in a state that’s legalized same-sex marriage; helping that assumption is that some recent Archie stories have implied Riverdale’s near New York City.
The wedding scenes in “Veronica” and (especially) “Betty” are nicely drawn. In “Betty,” I assume those are Clay’s parents we see in the audience (and a younger sister, niece or cousin of Clay’s as the flower girl). Also noticed that the new couple have hyphenated their last names.
Only nitpick of the wedding story: we don’t get to see the happy couple kiss! I was wondering if they’d show that, but was a bit disappointed to not see that major aspect of a wedding shown. That said, I assume we’ll get smooching in either future “Life With Archie” installments or in Kevin’s ongoing solo series (set in the present). Also hopefully, we’ll get to see Clay developed more as a character in upcoming “Life With Archie” issues…