Writers: Mark Waid with Lori Matsumoto
Pencils: Joe Eisma
Lettering: Jack Morelli
Coloring: Andre Szymanowicz
Original Publication: Archie, Vol. 2, No. 14
Cover Date: January, 2017
Length: 20 pages
First, that variant cover is a fucking lie. Cheryl hasn’t reached Riverdale yet and certainly hasn’t met Archie yet. It is gorgeous, though. Random note: “Introducing” was changed to “Featuring” on the final cover.
The first page isn’t so much part of a chapter as a teaser. Archie and Jughead are dressed as each other. Archie is letting Jughead explain this one.
Chapter One: The Pavement King (pages 02-07)
Archie is helping Jughead shop for a phone, because it drives Archie “nuts” that Jughead doesn’t have a phone. Jughead has no use for a phone. Archie had wanted Jughead to try out for baseball, but Jughead doesn’t want to. Ugh, this is a pet peeve of mine: I hate when someone tries to get me to do/try things that I have no interest in, and I hate when one character does that to another in a story as well.
Oh, and there’s an unfunny gag where Jughead is drawn as an old man, because he has no use for technology or sports.
Jughead insists he doesn’t want to waste his life, but Archie reminds him that he said he wants to waste his life (when they were six). Jughead takes that part back. Archie claims he’s a “high achiever”, but he hasn’t done shit to put together his parents’ surprise 20th anniversary party (which is in two weeks).
Madison Lee, a pretty girl, comes by and flirts with Archie. Jughead lets us know she’s acting attracted to Archie only because he dated Veronica. I guess dating a guy that used to date a socialite that’s no longer around makes you cool in Riverdale. Oh, and I hate when characters directly address the audience. It’s lazy exposition. Archie was doing this shit at the beginning of the series.
Anyway, Archie still likes Veronica but doesn’t want to hurt Madison, so he agrees to dinner at her house with her parents. Madison’s dad owns a paving company.
Six hours later, Archie shows up at Jughead’s, completely dirty. Jughead washes Archie’s clothes. Archie explains the “pavement king” got mad and accused Archie of leading his daughter on. He tells Jughead that he was right and always is. Jughead demands to know what he’s supposedly been right about. What the fuck? Why’s Jughead overreacting to a compliment?
Anyway, the “joke” is Archie adapts Jughead’s don’t-give-a-fuck philosophy and starts turning into him.
Chapter Two: Meanwhile, in…Switzerland (pages 08-11)
Veronica is about to sit at a table in Cafe Raclette, but Mackenzie, one of Cheryl’s friends/groupies/whatever, tells her that that’s Cheryl’s table. Veronica doesn’t give a fuck and sits down. Cheryl arrives and is pissed. Cheryl sits down and tries to chat with Veronica, but Veronica ignores her. Cheryl decides to forgive “lambie” for leaving her party. Veronica calls Cheryl out on what she did to Julia. Veronica gets up to leave, but Cheryl doesn’t allow it. She tells Veronica to remember her “station”. Veronica has had enough and walks away. Cheryl compares Veronica to her father and brings up his “two-bit election” loss in a “one-horse town”. Veronica storms back over to Cheryl. Cheryl calls her and her father losers. There’s a humorous bit where Mackenzie interjects useless trivia, and Cheryl casually tells her to shut up.
Veronica stares in fury at Cheryl for a moment – and then suddenly smiles. This makes Cheryl feel uneasy. Veronica grins and says “Game on.”
Chapter Three: Invasive is Fine (pages 12-13)
Archie’s eating like a pig. Jughead’s dad’s like “What the fuck?” Jughead’s like “No worries.” Archie falls into a “food coma”. An ambulance is called, and he’s rushed to the hospital.
At the hospital, Archie’s parents have arrived to see him. Archie’s mom’s like “What the fuck?” Archie espouses his new fuck-that-shit mentality and calls Jughead his “number one role model in this life”. Archie’s parents freak out to the doctor and are like “Fucking do something!” Archie basically tells his parents that their twenty years together have amounted to jack shit. Jughead reminds Archie of the party. Archie’s like “Fuck that shit.”
Chapter Four: Simultaneously, in…Switzerland (pages 14-19)
Mr. Lodge calls Veronica up and demands to know what’s with all of the fucking charges on his credit cards. Veronica explains she’s taken his advice and gone to “war” against her “adversary”. She’s thrown an anti-Cheryl party and gotten a bunch of girls to side with her to stop Cheryl’s “reign of terror”. Here’s where things get confusing. Veronica has a plan, but the word balloon has fucking pictures instead of words, and the only thing that I can figure is it has something to do with Paris. Oh, and the girls get massages (in the name of Veronica acquiring and maintaining “allied relationships”), charged to Mr. Lodge, because of course they do. One of the girls went and told Cheryl whatever Veronica said regarding Paris. Cheryl bought a plane ticket to Paris. Veronica references the table from the cafe in a silly statement and then hangs up, leaving her dad confused. Mr. Lodge confesses to Smithers that he may have taught her too well. Smithers says she listens to Mr. Lodge more than Mr. Lodge realizes.
Later, Veronica has gathered the girls for a party at Cafe Raclette. The girl that told Cheryl earlier now tells Veronica that it’s party time. Veronica prepares them to greet their “final guest”.
In Paris (yet still somehow riding in her sports car), Cheryl arrives at a building. She opens the door. It’s a bakery.
The baker that Veronica paid off texts her photos of a pissed-off Cheryl. The girls have a laugh, because “Cheryl hates carbs”. Veronica texts Cheryl a photo of herself leading the party at the cafe, which further infuriates Cheryl.
Two girls toast Veronica, but she’s hesitant to thank them. She goes into a closet and calls her father. She feels bad about winning, which confuses Mr. Lodge. She hangs up and looks at a photo of Archie. It turns out that Riverdale has given her a “soul”, so she feels she can’t survive in her current environment.
Chapter Five: Victory…? (page 20)
Jughead has ransacked Archie’s room in search of party plans but has found none. He puts on Archie’s letter jacket (the same one that was in Jughead’s washing machine?) and finally gets “a fistful of half-achieved goals” from one of the pockets. He vows he has to save his best friend from Jughead Jones.
There’s a reprint of the first chapter of Jughead #10, which is a move that’s lazy beyond words.
This story is uneven. I don’t care for the Archie story, which feels more like a Jughead story. I just don’t like Jughead.
The Veronica story is more enjoyable, but I still don’t know what the fuck Veronica’s plan was nor how it managed to work.
Also, the cliffhanger (of Cheryl setting her sights on Archie) from the end of the previous issue was dropped.
Finally, I don’t like the set-up of alternating between two separate stories in the same issue (and calling them chapters of the same story; the only tenuous thematic similarity is Archie and Veronica each question who they are). I realize the “Betty and Veronica” title has fallen comically behind schedule, so there’s really nowhere else to do Veronica’s storyline, but there’s gotta be a better method than this.
Tune in next Wednesday!