Comic review: Life With Archie #11

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Life With Archie #11Life With Archie #11

Written by: Paul Kupperberg (both stories)
Art by: Norm Breyfogle (both stories)

This month’s “Life With Archie” feels like a bit of a filler issue after last month’s events, not to mention a downer in parts. (SPOILERS) Perhaps they’re building up to the big reveal about what Mr. Lodge is up to…

In the “Veronica” future, we see Archie alone playing basketball, self-narrating another letter to the missing Dilton explaining his current problems. However, the biggest surprise is Archie having quit his job at Lodge Industries *and* having left Veronica! Meanwhile, Mr. Lodge eases up slightly on the Mr. Burns-behavior in a conversation with Veronica, indicating to her the reason for his behavior’s something “bigger” than the usual money-grubbing. Midge breaks up with Jughead (and quits her job), unable to take his lack of maturity toward handling his business *and* his love life. Reggie’s trial continues, Fred “makes up” with Ethel, and Betty’s older sister Polly continues to investigate Reggie’s framing. Chuck is also offered the opportunity to syndicate his comic strip.

The “Betty” future shows Archie taking a harder-line stance with his students (after the ill-fated field trip), to Mr. Weatherbee’s annoyance at going too far in the other direction. Betty figures out a way to break through to her sullen new student Georgia. Meanwhile, Reggie continues to investigate the story of Lodge’s developments outside of town, while Veronica (for some reason) decides to put her trust in Jason Blossom about her father’s “odd” behavior. The school continues to have problems (caused by sabotage), while Jughead (as well in this reality) also quits on running the franchising of the Chocklit Shoppe. Finally, Chuck feels down/jealous about Nancy’s work getting more attention.

The “Veronica” story is easily the more melodramatic of the two, as well as the more depressing. The revelation of Archie leaving Veronica/quitting Lodge seems rather sudden, plus, well, hard to imagine *Archie* giving up on a marriage. Despite his flaws, he seems like the kind of person who’d find *some* way of making a marriage work out. Also odd is not much of Veronica’s reaction to this is shown, with her appearances in the story instead focusing on the Mr. Lodge side of things; perhaps a result of having to squeeze in the other subplots. Speaking of “giving up” on a marriage, Jughead (in both futures) is in an even worse situation than Archie. I assume we’ll see both Archie and Jughead find a way to resolve their problems (and Jughead presumably learning about maturing), but it still comes off as a downer.

MLJ Comics (Archie’s original company name) shows up again as a comic company, along with mention of one of its old Silver Age superhero titles, the Jaguar.

A big change in this issue is there’s no “teen magazine”-style fillers, but instead recaps of the characters and storylines in each future so far. A much better use of the space, in my opinion. There’s the usual house ads and promotion (including ads for Kevin Keller’s miniseries), plus one “celebrity daydream” page (Archie and company—Archie, Betty, Reggie, Jughead, and Kevin— as the cast of the US version of “The Office”).

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