Writer: Will Ewing
Art: Joe Eisma
Colors: Andre Szymanowicz
Letters: Janice Chiang
Original Publication: Riverdale, No. 1
Cover Date: May, 2017
On-Sale Date: April 5, 2017
Length: 10 pages
I’m sorry that this is so late. Real Life has been crazy-busy lately.
During varsity football practice, Archie is still getting used to it. After practice, in the boys’ locker room, Coach Clayton gives Archie Jason’s old jersey (#9), even though he’d already done that in the first episode. Reggie’s in awe, but Archie doesn’t know how he’s going to live up to it.
Archie gets looks from the ladies while walking down the hall in his varsity jacket. He feels good. Then Chuck (the team captain, coach’s son, and “king of the jocks”) pulls him into a classroom filled with the varsity football team. Archie and Reggie are forced to their knees. Chuck welcomes them to “hell week”.
So the legendary football hell week is kind of like an initiation into a secret society – only much more violent and humiliating. Reggie, Archie, and Moose strip in the boys’ locker room and then streak across the football field in front of girls (including, possibly, Betty). Archie covers his dick. Moose looks embarrassed as well. Reggie, however, proudly lets his “freak flag” fly.
Then they have to stick a bunch of plastic forks in the football field of their arch-rivals. In this continuity, it’s Baxter High (instead of the usual Central High).
Then they toilet-paper Mr. Weatherbee’s house at night. He isn’t amused. Jughead also walks by and observes this.
At lunch one day, Jughead is amazed at the amount of food that Archie’s eating. Archie says Chuck says he needs to put on weight. Jughead wonders why Archie gives a shit about what Chuck says. Jughead asks about Archie’s music. Archie basically says he can do both that and football. He brings up getting Jason’s jersey and says he owes it to Jason to try.
That night, the pledges are told to come to school in only their bathing suits. Archie, Reggie, Moose, and two other guys get in the back of Chuck’s truck. He drives them out to Sweetwater River, where the entire team is gathered. In order to prove they’re “tough enough to be a Bulldog”, they must pass the final test: swim across Sweetwater River and back. It’s at least 100 yards to the other side, and the water is freezing. Um, I’m guessing this is supposed to occur roughly around the same time as the first episode, which means probably around early September. Does water get that cold at night in upstate New York at that time of year?
Anyway, Reggie and Archie whine. Chuck yells at Archie, saying Jason did it, and offers Archie the option of quitting the team.
Archie and Reggie do it. Moose says he can’t swim, so Archie volunteers to do it again in his place. A concerned Reggie tries to talk him out of it. Chuck says Archie can’t do it for Moose, because no weak links (meaning Moose). Archie takes another swim over Chuck’s protest.
During the swim, the cold gets to Archie, and he thinks he sees Jason’s corpse, wearing his varsity jacket. Archie keeps going and makes it. Moose thanks him. Reggie offers Archie a towel. Chuck’s pissed, saying Archie earned another week of hell. Archie tells him to bring it. Another player, though, calls Chuck out on his bullshit, saying Archie did it. Eventually, Chuck backs off, having no other choice.
For all of their trouble, though, Archie, Reggie, and Moose end up as bench-warmers. Coach Clayton puts Archie in the game for the next play, so Chuck can take a breather. When Archie goes to tell him, though, Chuck pushes him and says the number on his chest is a bullseye. As Archie plays, we briefly see Betty and Veronica cheering.
After the game, Archie looks in a mirror in the boys’ locker room and sees Jason’s corpse staring back at him. He feels he’s a dead man walking. Well, that’s creepy as fuck.
Slight continuity hiccup aside, this was pretty good story.
Tune in next Wednesday!