Life With Archie #12
Written by: Paul Kupperberg (both stories)
Art by: Fernando Ruiz (Veronica), Pat & Tim Kennedy (Betty)
This issue marks the 12-issue anniversary of “Life With Archie.” (SPOILERS below…)
In this month’s “Veronica” storyline, we see Mr. Lodge still dropping confusing hints about what’s going on with Memory Lane, conversing again with now-adult Dilton Doiley (or “Professor Doiley” as Mr. Lodge now calls him). We then see the other aspects of the “Veronica” storyline: Veronica and Betty discussing Reggie’s trial; Archie, separated from Veronica and staying with his parents, is perusing the want ads for a new job; Jughead finally deals with his business (though not Midge) by finding a new, less aggressive financial backer, a parody of Sam Walton of “Wal-Mart founder” fame; and the outcome of Reggie’s court case is given (no guessing how that turns out). There’s also a scene with Veronica and Mr. Lodge discussing things, with Mr. Lodge telling Ronnie a clear lie about Archie’s motivations. Veronica seems to indicate (via her reactions and thought balloons) that she’s not being told the entire truth about what’s going on with her father/Archie, but still hasn’t made up with Archie at the story’s end.
Meanwhile in the “Betty” storyline, while Archie’s preparing his music class for a school spring festival, Mr. Weatherbee, Moose and Svenson deal with the deteriorating physical state (read: sabotage) of Riverdale High. (I thought Weatherbee’s line toward Svenson about “using a double-negative” was funny, since I noticed its use, too.) Jughead and Midge make amends, while finding a less-aggressive business partner who’ll handle the main day-to-day aspects of running a franchise: Fred Mirth. Future plot point involving the multiverse side of things, I’m sure… especially since Fred is speaking with Dilton again a few pages later.
Finally, Mikio is revealed to be the one sabotaging the school (though the gang doesn’t learn why), but not before a massive fire engulfs the school. On top of this, comes Reggie (in tears) noting that the plane Veronica’s taking to Europe has been lost at sea!
Quite a busy issue, aside from the slow-moving, somewhat confusing Mr. Lodge/Dilton side of the stories. On the art side, this is the first issue without any art by Norm Breyfogle, with regular Archie artist Fernando Ruiz drawing the “Veronica” story. Ruiz keeps with the “Life With Archie” style to date, though his usual trademarks are thrown in—people (usually women) on cell phones outside of establishing shots of buildings, etc.
Unlike the image I used for this post, it looks like the teen pop magazine filler material’s been long dropped, so none of it’s in this issue. The only extras are ads for other Archie publications (graphic novels, Kevin Keller’s miniseries, etc.), and a “celebrity daydream” filler page where Cheryl Blossom and Betty imagine themselves as the cast of the cable TV drama “Mad Men.” “Jinx” is still advertised as a stand-alone digital comic series, but oddly, it’s also still listed as being available in the paper version of “Life With Archie.”