Comic reviews: Life With Archie #15, Archie #627

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Life With Archie #15Life With Archie #15

Written by: Paul Kupperberg (both)
Art by: Fernando Ruiz (Veronica), Pat and Tim Kennedy (Betty)

After the big emphasis last issue, the multiverse side of things seems to have eased up slightly here. In the “Veronica” storyline, Archie and Ronnie are still separated from each other, while Ronnie’s antics are all over the tabloids. Meanwhile, Mr. Lodge is still trying to fend off Fred Mirth’s attempts to take over Lodge Industries (without letting Fred know about his plans), while Fred is setting up offices for his company in Riverdale (while also not letting Mr. Lodge know about his plans). Meanwhile, Jughead and Midge are on the outs as business partners (and life partners), while Ambrose has come back to town. As for Archie himself, he’s still haunted by the odd Halloween experience at Memory Lane.

Over in the “Betty” side, things are going better, though Archie’s overwhelmed by taking on too many responsibilities. Construction on Riverdale High continues, though for some reason, there’s an unannounced addition in the sub-basement that surprises Moose. Chuck finally resolves his jealousy issues with Nancy, Reggie gets a hot tip about the disappearance of Ronnie’s plane, and Ambrose’s Riverdale branch of his club continues along. Fred Mirth shows up here, as well… and surprised to see interviewing at his company Ethel (his girlfriend on “Earth-Veronica”). Which might lend credence to my suspicion that there’s only *one* version of Fred between both worlds… or if there is another Fred, he’s in some unimportant or irrelevant position somewhere.

On *both* worlds, we get more of Midge being “under the weather” (not a spoiler to anyone who read the original Wedding storyline, despite how much has changed between that story and the “Life With Archie” series), while Betty (in “Veronica”) and Jughead (in “Betty”) both get calls from the Keller household. Next issue, of course, is the much-promoted Kevin Keller wedding story.

One oddity: Kevin’s implied to have been serving in Iraq. While it’s not certain if this is truly set “6-7 years in the future” (i.e., 2017-2018 from 2011’s viewpoint), or an alternate version of 2011, either way, this story comes on the heels of a real-life planned pullout of troops from Iraq by year’s end. Then again, given US foreign policy (and our oversized military), it’s a safe bet to assume we’ll be in some “conflict” somewhere around the world in 6-7 years’ time.

Archie #627Archie #627

Written by: Alex Segura
Art by: Dan Parent

This issue kicks off the four-part “Archie Meets KISS” storyline, which sounds almost as bizarre a crossover as the famed 90s classic “Archie Meets the Punisher.” The story’s setup: Sabrina the Teenage Witch and the rest of the Archie gang form the “Riverdale Monster Society,” tasking themselves with protecting the town from monsters, which they do via casting a spell. Unfortunately, Veronica and Reggie mess up the incantation, which brings monsters from another realm to Riverdale, with plans on turning the town into zombies. Even odder, KISS themselves show up as a byproduct of the spell. They’re presented here as otherworldly rock music-playing monster-hunters of some sort, who also plan on stopping the monsters’ plans.

Yeah, this one was bizarre… but was still enjoyable, despite me not being a KISS fan. Sabrina playing a big role in this helped draw me into buying it… with the surprising aspect that here, everyone (not just Jughead) knows she’s a witch. (Yes, they believe in magic too, but the gang’s seen that enough times in various stories over the decades that that’s not too unbelievable…). This despite one of Sabrina’s recurring themes in her own stories is hiding being a witch from the mortals. Not that continuity’s been an Archie strong point, but maybe it’s being treated as a “one-off” like the Punisher crossover? Or Sabrina plans on mind-wiping everyone once the story concludes? Or maybe Jughead just blabbed and she was OK with it…

Anyway, this storyline’s getting the alternate-cover treatment that Archie’s only recently started getting into (a la other comic companies), though the alternate covers do look pretty nice. The art inside is Dan Parent’s usual standard, with some nice touches: Josie’s “She’s Josie”-era title font shows up in a word balloon when Archie sees the Pussycats’ lead singer. There’s also seeing the town’s zombies consisting mostly of the secondary characters—Chuck, Mr. Weatherbee, Kevin, Bingo (from “That Wilkin Boy”), etc.

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