Comics – Undercover Blossom!

Cheryl-Blossom-11
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 11
Cover Date: April, 1998
Length: 21 pages

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

Part One

A caption briefly recaps the previous issue. Cheryl calls the administration office of Riverdale High and talks with Ms. Phlips. She pretends to be Shirley’s mother (from Toledo) and needs to enroll her daughter. She convinces Ms. Phlips to mail the paperwork to her, despite it being “a little unusual”.

Cheryl then decides to send a messenger to pick it up. Priscilla questions Cheryl about “Pembrooke High”. That’s…never been the name of their school, but whatever. Cheryl says Pembrooke’s winter vacation next week is one week before Riverdale’s. Also, Cheryl calls her Bunny, so I guess that’s her official name again. Bunny hopes it’s worth it; Cheryl’s confident that it is.

Soon, Cheryl gets her enrollment “forms” (which is just one sheet of paper). She decides not to use a bogus Social Security number, so the Feds don’t come after her. So…does she use her own? And won’t that immediately blow her cover? She decides to put Bunny’s phone number and address as hers. She…really isn’t thinking this through. Oh, and Jason has overheard the entire thing, because Cheryl is keeping her nonsensical tradition of saying everything out loud.

Next week (while Pembrooke is on winter vacation), “Shirley” starts at Riverdale High. She meets up with Betty and Veronica and pretends to feel out of place. Jughead insults her “1983 wardrobe”. Why that specific year?

Betty offers herself and Ronnie to help her with her clothes. Mr. Weatherbee comes by and introduces himself to “Shirley”. Reggie finds her “boring”, but Archie finds her “compelling”. The bell rings. Before she goes to class, she slips notes into each of the girls’ lockers. How does she know which lockers belong to girls? Jason shows up, making Cheryl nervous. How the hell did Jason get into the school? Do they just allow anyone in at any time?

Oh, he’s “visiting some friends”. That’s allowed? Anyway, Cheryl leaves, hoping Jason isn’t on to her but reasoning he would have sabotaged her by now. At least, she thinks so.

After class, Betty and Ronnie each read the note, supposedly from Archie, asking each of them to go steady. “Shirley” accuses Archie of two-timing them, and they yell at Archie.

Betty finds computer printouts of the same letter in Archie’s (conveniently open) locker, each addressed to a different girl. Betty and Ronnie leave in anger. “Shirley” offers to help Archie out with them.

Part 2

On another day, Betty and Ronnie are still snubbing Archie. After everyone passes in their essays, the bell rings, and Ms. Grundy dismisses the class. Cheryl “borrows” Reggie and Jughead’s essays on her way out.

The next day, Ms. Grundy gives the guys incompletes for not handing in their essays. They insist they did, and Reggie guesses someone’s messing with them.

Soon, out in the hall, Reggie witnesses their essays fall out of Archie’s book or folder or whatever and says he swiped them. How the hell did Cheryl manage to put their essays there without Archie noticing? And when did she do it, so he wouldn’t notice them before they fell out at this precise, convenient moment? And she’s damn lucky that it happened exactly this way, or else Archie wouldn’t have been “exposed” as the “thief”! Anyway, Archie says he’s been framed, but Jughead tells him to confess. Betty defends Archie, saying “He may be a two-timer, but he’s no thief!” How does she know that? Reggie and Jughead’s essays were in Archie’s possession. Ronnie’s pissed that Betty’s defending Archie.

Cheryl is proud of herself and decides to “step in and save the day”. She suggests they all shake hands and go to Pop Tate’s. Mr. Weatherbee has seen everything and is suspicious, because “Archie and his friends have been in total upheaval since Shirley started here!” Ms. Grundy agrees with him. Armed with this logic, Mr. Weatherbee goes to the administration office and asks to see Shirley’s enrollment “papers” (which, again, is just one paper). He immediately scowls at what he sees and decides “it’s time for a little investigation”.

Soon, the gang’s on their way to Pop’s. Jason meets up with them. Delighted, Betty says it’s “funny” how they keep running into him and asks him where Cheryl’s been. Jason says he’s been looking for her, because a TV crew is at their house to do a piece on her. Cheryl excuses herself to make a phone call. She goes into a phone booth and awkwardly references Superman without actually naming him.

After changing back into her normal outfit (where the hell did she keep it, and where the hell did she put her Shirley clothes?), Cheryl goes home and asks her parents about the TV cameras. Clifford’s like “What the fuck are you talking about?” Cheryl realizes Jason tricked her and is on to her. She leaves the house, enraged.

After changing back into Shirley, Cheryl arrives at Pop’s, somehow knowing she’d find Jason here. Cheryl wants to talk to him.

Part 3

They go outside. Cheryl threatens to show Betty all of the love letters that Jason has written about her on his computer (she has saved copies), if he blows her cover. He agrees not to tell but tells her that she can’t keep this up much longer. Cheryl says she’s going to reveal herself at the big dance on Saturday. This is shitty continuity, because this is already the following week after the upcoming Saturday dance had been mentioned in the previous issue.

Later, at Pop’s, “Shirley” doesn’t feel like going to the dance, because no one will want to be her date. Ronnie suggests getting Archie to ask her. Betty agrees, because “Shirley’s no threat”. Ronnie pressures Archie to do it in exchange for forgiveness for “the love letter escapade”. Archie agrees and asks “Shirley” to the dance. She accepts.

At the big dance, everyone’s having a great time. Ironically, Betty is wearing blossom-shaped earrings. After a brief discussion with Ms. Grundy, Mr. Weatherbee announces the winners of “cutest couple” – right after Ethel and Dilton discuss their intention to cast votes. Well, I guess they missed out. Clifford and Penelope Blossom have been brought in to announce the winners, which freaks Cheryl out.

Clifford announces “Archie Andrews and Cheryl Blossom” as the winners. Cheryl tries to keep up the charade, but her parents force her to out herself. Ronnie exclaims “Gasp! It’s Cheryl!” That would sound so silly if actually spoken. Cheryl gleefully makes a little speech, since she pretty much proved her claims from the previous issue.

Cheryl thinks Jason told on her, but Mr. Weatherbee says he discovered Cheryl’s Social Security number on her enrollment form. Cheryl wishes she’d used a fake number. Anyway, Mr. Weatherbee then contacted her parents. Cheryl apologizes, but her parents reveal Cheryl will be finishing out the year at Riverdale High, much to Cheryl’s shock.

Part 4

Cheryl begs her dad not to “torture” her like this, but Clifford is adamant. There’s a dumb gag where Betty and Ronnie literally faint over the news. Archie asks Cheryl to dance, but she decides to go home.

On Monday morning, Cheryl waits for Bunny and Cedric at the gate to her mansion. Bunny has heard the news, which Cheryl confirms, although she’s trying to make it seem like it’s part of her “twisted revenge”. Bunny is worried about Cheryl becoming “one of them”, but Cheryl insists she “will always be a Pembrooke blue blood”. Her friends decline to walk to Riverdale High with her, because they don’t want to be seen with her. Cheryl gets all melodramatic when she walks out of Pembrooke. Wait, why is Cheryl walking to school? Do the busses not come to Pembrooke? Have her parents forbidden her from using the limo?

When Cheryl arrives at her new school, she doesn’t wanna face Archie, Ronnie, and Betty, but she timidly greets them. Ronnie calls Cheryl “the Devil”. Cheryl tries to make light of her prank, but Betty doesn’t find it funny. Archie (of all people) wants them to go easy on Cheryl, even though Cheryl’s prank harmed Archie the most (not that he even necessarily knows that, since Cheryl was never shown confessing to anything other than creating a false identity). Ronnie responds by threatening to break Archie’s leg, and Betty is upset as well.

Later, Cheryl decides to make the best of her situation. A woman (later revealed to be named Sandy) meets her outside. She’s a reporter for a teen show that Cheryl loves, and she wants to do a piece on Cheryl’s prank, because the whole town’s talking about it. Cheryl readily agrees.

On another day, Betty admits to feeling a bit sorry for Cheryl. Ronnie agrees. Betty says, if Cheryl’s going to attend here, it might be time to start getting along. Ronnie agrees.

Betty offers Cheryl a truce, which Cheryl happily agrees to. Betty links arms with Ronnie and Cheryl, and the three of them walk down the hall together. Ronnie suggests going to Pop’s, but Cheryl wants to watch herself on the show tonight. Betty suggests they all watch it at Pop’s, but Cheryl declines as she leaves the school.

Later, at Pop’s, Betty, Ronnie, and Archie are surprised to learn the story is about Cheryl’s prank. Cheryl very mildly insults the intelligence of everyone at Riverdale High on national television. Ronnie is upset that Cheryl is capitalizing on this.

At home, Cheryl declares “Riverdale, you ain’t seen nothing yet!”

Just like last issue, this story was pretty stupid. Absolutely no one saw through Cheryl’s disguise (which, again, is just a wig). I work at Walmart. A while ago, the people greeter wore a blonde wig to work. It took me only a few times of sporadically seeing her for a minute or two at a time throughout my shift before I was sure it was her. These idiots have been looking at Cheryl in a wig for an entire week and never put it together.

Also, Cheryl’s scheme to attend Riverdale High never would have worked in real life. That shit would have raised some flags before Cheryl ever set foot in the door. And she’d likely face some legal consequences for creating a false identity.

Finally, looking ahead, it seems we have only three more issues set during the school year before summer starts. That seems an awfully short amount of time to use this new status quo after devoting two whole issues to setting it up. Y’know what would have been a more efficient use of space? A simple story in which her parents decide a snobby Cheryl needs to learn some humility and enroll her at Riverdale High. Done.

That said, I am looking forward to seeing how Cheryl does in her new environment.

Extras

Between Parts One and 2 are a page of Cheryl fan art (with contributions from Elizabeth Peek of Salisbury, Maryland; Witney Kline of Bismark, North Dakota; Mei Chikwok of Queens, New York; Sarah Didychuck of Manitoba, Canada; and Melissa Kelly of Alberta, Canada) and a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Mistress of the Mall”.

Between Parts 2 and 3 is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Decades of Style”.

Grand Comics Database says there’s a 2-page “Dear Cheryl” letters column by Sara Algase, but the digital edition doesn’t include it. I assume it’s between Parts 3 and 4 as in the previous issue.

Author: markmooreauthor

I love watching anime and superhero movies, and I love playing video games. I also write fan fiction and original fiction.

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