Comics – We Need to Talk About Kevin

Riverdale-4.jpg
Writer: Michael Grassi
Art: Joe Eisma
Colors: Andre Szymanowicz
Letters: John Workman
Original Publication: Riverdale, No. 4
Cover Date: August, 2017
On-Sale Date: July 5, 2017
Length: 20 pages

Kevin narrates this story. As we see him get ready for his day, he gives us his stats like in a dating profile (6’2″, around 165 pounds, body type: toned, single/looking). As he brings his dad a cup of High Point at the kitchen table, we see a story on the front page of the Riverdale Register about a lion escaping from the Riverdale Zoo (this isn’t relevant to the story at all).

Kevin laments he’s the only openly gay person in Riverdale. He then goes through various people that he knows that he has varying degrees of certainty of being gay.

He has Betty (his “best friend”) over at his house. They pig out on takeout from Pop’s, and he talks about his loneliness. Betty hopes he doesn’t go cruising, and she names some of his favorite places: a truck stop, the mall bathroom, and Fox Forest. He claims he gave up cruising for Lent and forever. Kevin laments Betty “doesn’t get it”.

In the student lounge at Riverdale High School, Kevin is browsing profiles on a gay dating app called Sup. Veronica gives him some shit about being a “smartphone addict” but then notices the guys. Kevin’s been having no luck, so Veronica wants to see his profile. He has a rather dorky picture of himself. She endorses him doing this, but she wants access to his account for one day to do “a little jeuging“. She promises he’ll be dating the man of his dreams in no time. We learn that’s Wolverine.

Veronica finds Archie mowing the lawn at home and, in a pretty hilarious exchange, gets him to take off his shirt. Well, he merely lifts it to show off his abs, and she takes a pic with a phone (hers? Kevin’s?).

Veronica’s plan works. Kevin has a date with “a total dreamboat from Greendale” at Pop’s. While waiting for him to arrive, Kevin pounds back fries and milkshakes and/or soda floats.

The guy, Forest, finally shows up – and promptly leaves when he discovers Kevin isn’t a redhead as in his profile. Kevin calls for the check.

On another day, Kevin relates this to Betty and Veronica in…the school cafeteria, I guess. Betty suggests taking a break from online dating. Kevin’s convinced he’ll die a virgin. Veronica brings up the gay bar that Kevin had mentioned to her, which is just outside town. Kevin has tried to get into Innuendo but has always failed. He insists he’s not going clubbing. Veronica mentions being able to get into the Pyramid in East Village and dancing with Chloe Sevigny. Based on this experience, she believes Kevin can get into Innuendo. Betty knows who can help.

Reggie wants to know what the “three squares” want with a fake ID. Veronica and Betty explain. In the interest of helping get Kevin laid, Reggie offers to make him an ID on the house. Veronica wants IDs for herself and Betty as well. Betty asks what they’re going to do at a gay bar. Veronica says dance and get glitter everywhere.

As they arrive at Innuendo, Kevin is filled with dread. Veronica gives him a pep talk. Betty, dressed in overalls and looking vaguely like a lumberjack, remarks she feels underdressed. They present their IDs to the bouncer. Veronica whispers something to him. He lets them in and tells them to enjoy their night. Kevin asks Betty how Veronica did that. Betty says they’ll never know.

In the club, Kevin dances between Betty and Veronica as the latter two sing along to “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” by Whitney Houston. When they get to “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga, Betty notices Kevin is gone. He’s at the bar, ordering a Shirley Temple. What a square. Dude, you have a fake ID. Order a Dirty Shirley, at least.

The girls come over. Veronica wants him to meet guys. Kevin says this isn’t “[his] scene”. Veronica insists he try, and Betty at least wants him to dance with them. Kevin says taking off his shirt and dancing with strangers is not him (but apparently cruising is – or at least was). Kevin has never felt more alone. He leaves but tells the girls to stay and have fun; he’s going home to watch The Broken Hearts Club.

It’s a lie. Kevin goes cruising in Fox Forest. He’s met closeted and married guys here before – as well as some on the football team. Ever since Jason’s murder, he never lingers too long anymore.

When Kevin returns home, his dad’s watching TV. Kevin’s cover had been that he was sleeping over at Betty’s, but he immediately tells the truth about sneaking into the gay bar (but not about the cruising). They talk about it. Kevin confesses he has “this sinking feeling” that he’ll “be alone forever”.

His dad tells “kiddo” that he’s not gonna be alone. This makes Kevin happy. His dad also mentions Kevin moving to New York for his Broadway career, but I can’t tell if he’s serious or not. Kevin takes the remote from his dad’s hand and asks him if he’d rather watch Barefoot Contessa or The Great British Bake Off. His dad notices glitter just fell out of his hair.

So Kevin goes back to his normal daily routine, embracing the single life and giving up on meeting a guy.

Kevin has Betty and Veronica, after all, and he tells them to save him a seat in Biology while he grabs a book from his locker.

He grabs his Biology book from his locker, and the bell rings. He realizes he’s late, slams his locker shut, and runs toward class, papers flying out of his bookbag. Someone runs into him and knocks him to the floor. As Kevin picks up his papers, he tells the guy to watch where he’s going – and then takes notice of him.

The guy, a blond named Devin that just transferred from London, offers Kevin his Biology book and asks him to show him to Biology class.

This was a pretty nice story. My headcanon is Betty and Veronica got drunk at the club and made out on the dance floor.

After the story are six pages of (very) short character profiles of Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Cheryl, and Josie; a cover gallery for this issue and the Road to Riverdale trades; and the cover of the next issue.

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Comics – Wild Things

Riverdale-3
Writer: James Dewille
Art: Joe Eisma
Colors: Andre Szymanowicz
Letters: Janice Chiang
Original Publication: Riverdale, No. 3
Cover Date: July, 2017
On-Sale Date: June 7, 2017
Length: 10 pages

At Josie’s house, Josie and the Pussycats, along with Veronica, are rehearsing in the garage. Veronica’s playing a guitar in addition to Josie, so I’m guessing it’s a bass. After practice, Melody praises Veronica’s performance. Veronica says she sang in the Young Debutantes’ Choir in New York, but this was a lot more fun. Josie insults the “Spence School Spinsters”.

Josie exposits they’re headlining against their “archrivals” from the Southside tomorrow, a band called Venom. Veronica’s nervous but is heading straight home, drinking a cup of lemon tea with honey, and having “a good night’s beauty rest”. The others laugh at her. Josie makes her go out with them tonight for a “pre-gig tradition” (somehow convincing her between panels).

Soon, they’re speeding down the road in the “Pussycat Mobile” (Josie’s car). Veronica’s scared shitless.

They proceed to do crazy (for a small town) shit. They spray-paint graffiti at Venom’s “lair”. They swim in a closed public pool. They dance on top of tables at a diner. They get fake tattoos.

As they ride around again, Josie talks about protecting their “turf”. Bitch, you’re a band, not a gang. At a stoplight, Reggie shows up with an unnamed jock friend and challenges the girls to a drag race. Josie accepts.

Near Pop’s, Reggie nearly collides with what look like Archie and Jughead riding in an old-fashioned car (though not quite Archie’s classic jalopy). They aren’t identified as such, though. Reggie swerves to avoid a collision. The girls cheer.

Later, at the Whyte Wyrm, over what looks like a meal of fries with cheese, Veronica expresses her gratitude for the girls. Veronica, knowing some guys at Webster Hall, suggests a concert there. Uh, yeah, good luck with that, V. Josie unenthusiastically agrees. Venom, an all-girl punk band, enters the bar, pissed about the Pussycats’ graffiti. Josie and one of the Venom girls engage in trash talk.

Then there’s a huge rumble. The Pussycats beat the shit out of Venom. Veronica says they’ll see them at the show tomorrow. Josie offers her girls a ride home, and they tear off.

Later, on “Ol’ Lookout Point”, Josie and Veronica sit on the hood of Josie’s car and look out over the city. Veronica loves the view. Josie agrees. Veronica asks Josie why she’s still in Riverdale and not killing it in New York. Josie admits she’s terrified. Her dad’s been trying to make it there for two decades. He keeps putting her down. Veronica compares Josie favorably to Amal Clooney.

Josie admits her persona is all an act and doubts her ability to survive in NYC. Veronica gives Josie a pep talk, mentioning her own family situation. Josie is unsure and doesn’t seem to feel better but thanks Veronica. Veronica wants to drive the next time that they go “wilding”, but Josie doesn’t agree to that.

This was a pretty nice story. Not much more to say.

Comics – The Case of the Sorrel Roan

Riverdale-3.jpg
Writer: Bill Ewing
Art: Thomas Pitilli
Colors: Andre Szymanowicz
Letters: John Workman
Original Publication: Riverdale, No. 3
Cover Date: July, 2017
On-Sale Date: June 7, 2017
Length: 10 pages

In the office of The Blue and Gold (Riverdale High’s newspaper), on Tuesday night, at 9:45 PM, Betty is working, and Jughead is eating and drinking. Jughead’s miffed that he has to cover “the banalities of high school” instead of spending 100% of his time writing about Jason. They argue about it for a bit. Betty gets on Jughead’s case about being wordy. She also namedrops Ms. Haggly as their English teacher. She’s a teacher from the classic comics. Then Cheryl walks in (for some reason, this warrants a gasp from Betty), wearing mostly black (except for a red band in her black hat) and holding a red purse, and says “#Bughead? I need your help…” I fucking love Cheryl.

Cheryl thinks her dad is having an affair. She cites his being distant as well as abruptly ending phone calls whenever he sees her. Cheryl is in tears, and she says she won’t trouble “Mother” with this until she has proof. Supposedly, Clifford has Sheriff Keller “bought and paid for”, so going to the police is out. Citing the “almost Hitchcockian interest” that Betty and Jughead have taken in her family since “Jay-Jay” died, she figures maybe helping her with this is the least that they could do. Betty is uncertain, saying it isn’t really what they do. Jughead privately suggests to Betty that a potential affair possibly coinciding with Jason’s death might be worth knowing. Betty agrees but tells Jughead that he’s covering next Friday’s volleyball game. Jughead agrees to take the case but tells Cheryl that she’ll possibly be charged fees.

At the Riverdale Men’s Athletic Club, on Wednesday morning, at 6:15 AM, Betty and Jughead spy on Clifford swimming laps in the pool. Jughead references The Maltese Falcon. Betty makes a comment. Jughead starts to respond to it.

He finishes it outside The Five Seasons restaurant at 8:17 AM (okay, that was damn sloppy). Betty tells him to shut the fuck up. They observe Clifford going inside. They go inside and, sitting at another table, witness Clifford and Mayor Sierra McCoy making boring business talk over (according to Jughead) a breakfast of egg whites, although it looks like they’re having drinks.

Jughead wonders a bit about their futures and then wonders if Clifford and Sierra are using their business dealings as a smokescreen. Betty wonders, too, since Mr. McCoy is always on the road. She decides to follow her and tells Jughead to follow Mr. Blossom. Jughead starts to object. Betty asks if he’s gonna miss her. He says nope, but he thinks maybe.

On the Old Mill Road, at 10:23 AM, Jughead observes Clifford out “in in the woods” [sic]. The rain starts pouring. Jughead starts taking pictures with his cell phone. He observes Clifford going to a house. Jughead has already skipped Woodshop and Algebra, and Ms. McCone would “kill” Jughead if he missed Biology. What the fuck is Jughead talking about? He’s got a male teacher for Biology, and it’s possibly during fifth period.

It turns out that Clifford came to see a certain female – a Sorrel Roan horse. Oh, and he’s also fucking her owner, Ellen. Jughead gets pics.

At Pop’s, over burgers, fries, and sodas, Betty informs Jughead that she’d followed Mayor McCoy back to city hall, where she lied to her and got to snoop around her office for a few minutes. She saw her calendar. Sierra and Clifford have a standing breakfast meeting, once per month, on the books. She starts to repeat Jughead’s earlier theory of them using it as a cover, but he shows her the pics on his phone. Betty’s shocked and…I’m sorry, is that a cigar that she’s holding? I guess it’s supposed to be a burnt fry, but who holds a fry like that?

Betty feels awful for “poor Cheryl”; she’d been hoping to prove Cheryl wrong. Jughead’s all cynical and shit. Betty asks him what they tell her. Jughead says they present her with their findings.

At the Riverdale High gymnasium, on Thursday afternoon, at 3:20 PM, after River Vixens practice, Jughead starts to prepare Cheryl for the truth. Cheryl is upset. Jughead and Betty sadly look at each other. Jughead shows Cheryl a pic of Clifford and Ellen on his phone. Cheryl brightens up, relieved. She grins. Jughead starts to tell her to do something, but Betty cuts him off and asks Cheryl why she’s relieved. Ellen is Cheryl’s dressage coach. Clifford had told Cheryl that he was getting her an early birthday present this week. He’d spent a lot of time picking it out. She guesses he must be buying her a horse, and that’s why he’s been shady around her. Jughead tells her to keep swiping right, but Betty tells her that she’ll see the horse and advises against ruining the surprise. She takes the phone out of Cheryl’s hands. Cheryl agrees. She’s so excited and happy, and she tells them that they’re the best. She waves goodbye and leaves.

That night, at The Blue and Gold, at 8:33 PM, Betty and Jughead are at they’re usual tasks (working and pigging out, respectively). It’s raining hard. Jughead tells Betty that she did the wrong thing with Cheryl. Betty angrily disputes that, saying maybe Cheryl deserves a break and a chance to believe her father is decent. Jughead says they’re stewards of the truth. While Betty says, as journalists, the truth is absolute, she also says “I think that, as friends, the truth can sometimes be less important than…protection. That’s what we did for Cheryl…” Jughead agrees. I disagree. That’s not being a good friend (and Betty does consider Cheryl her friend). Betty really should have taken Cheryl aside privately, shown her the pics, and offered her a hug and a shoulder to cry on. If Cheryl finds out the truth independently, she’ll realize Betty and Jughead concealed it from her, and she might get angry at them. Being confronted with the truth might be harder on Cheryl in the short term, but, in the long term, she’ll know she has a true friend that will be honest with her, no matter what.

Anyway, they banter as they get back to covering “the banalities of high school”.

This was a nice story! My only real issue, of course, is Betty’s decision to conceal the truth from Cheryl.

So…what happened to the “Destruction!” story promised in the previous issue?

After the story is a lightweight, six-page look at the characters (including the introduction page), a one-page cover gallery, and the cover for the next issue.

Comics – The Breakfast Club

Riverdale-2.jpgWriters: Greg Murray (pages 1-12), Daniel King (pages 13-20*)
Art: Joe Eisma (pages 1-12, 18-20*), Thomas Pitilli (pages 13-17)
Colors: Andre Szymanowicz
Letters: John Workman
Original Publication: Riverdale, No. 2
Cover Date: June, 2017
On-Sale Date: May 3, 2017
Length: 19 pages*

*Think about that. Also, I’d never come across a single comic story that required two writers and two artists. What in the actual fuck?

Before the story, there’s a recap of the previous issue on the credits page.

Wow, they’re not being at all subtle, are they?

Okay, so the title basically gives away the plot, but here it is, anyway. Archie, Josie, Jughead, Veronica, and Betty report to Riverdale High School on Saturday morning at 7:15 AM for detention in the library. Okay, I’d never heard of Saturday detention outside The Breakfast Club. Is that an actual thing? Hell, I never even heard of detention when I was in high school. It was either in-school suspension or out-of-school suspension. I got in-school suspension twice in middle school. Basically, we’d sit in a room and silently work on transcribing magazines of subjects roughly corresponding to our actual classes throughout the day. So, for example, during the time that I’d have P.E., I’d have to transcribe an article from a fitness magazine or whatever. Ah, good old room 118, its very mention striking fear into the heart of whoever was summoned there over the intercom.

Anyway, the gist is there was a food fight in the cafeteria yesterday (a.k.a. “Foodgate”), and Mr. Weatherbee has “reason to believe” they all played a role. Archie insists he didn’t do anything wrong. If Weatherbee can get the person(s) responsible to fess up, he’ll send “everyone” home right now. Um, including whoever’s responsible? We learn Mr. Weatherbee has an 8:00 AM spin class with someone named Racquel.

Anyway, no one says anything. Mr. Weatherbee has them turn over their cell phones, and he lays down the rules. Veronica demands to speak to her attorney. Josie’s missing rehearsal. Weatherbee specifically seems to suspect Betty. She says she doesn’t know anything.

At 7:21 AM, Weatherbee leaves, saying they’ve got 7 hours and 39 minutes left to go. So no one’s gonna watch them? And how are they gonna get their phones back? And why’d they bring their phones in the first place?

Archie suspects Josie, claiming she’s “threatened” by him. Josie dismisses “Ginger-vitus”. Archie decides to write down exactly how everything went down.

Archie’s account: Archie has decided to get over his “crippling” fear of performing in public by playing his guitar in the cafeteria. Melody heard him practice in the music room and says he’s good. Valerie adds he’s cute. He performs a song called “Spaceman”. He doesn’t get very far before he’s hit with food, and the “food fight to end all food fights” begins.

Archie wants everyone to sign his “accurate account” and take it to Weatherbee as a “united front”. Josie tells “Norma Rae” that no one actually saw who threw the food at him. She then pairs everyone to their Breakfast Club counterparts: Betty is the brain, Archie is the athlete, Jughead is the basket case, Josie is the princess, and Veronica is the criminal. Veronica wants Archie to add the following to his account:

Veronica’s account: Veronica and Kevin are sitting at a table in the cafeteria to get sign-ups for the gay/straight alliance, but it’s really just her way of getting him a date. They’re having no luck. Reggie comes by and wants to start up a “straight/straight alliance” with Veronica. Veronica declines. Reggie offers to give Kevin a gay football player’s number in exchange for Veronica’s number. Knowing Reggie’s talking about a “sweet” overweight dude named “Billy the Fridge”, Kevin declines, referencing Of Mice and Men. Reggie loudly calls them teases and defends “the Fridge”. He then gets hit by food.

While Veronica is upset about herself and her “best gay” being called teases, she admits to nothing except participating. Veronica accuses Betty of starting the food fight. Archie disagrees, but Betty tells him to write this down:

Betty’s account: With the River Vixens, writing and editing stories for The Blue and Gold, and acting as Mr. Weatherbee’s personal assistant (for some fucking reason; I guess it’s something that her mom thought would look good on her college application), she doesn’t have much free time, so she uses her 30-minute lunch (what kind of school gives only a half-hour for lunch?) to read. She reads The Story of O behind her Chemistry book. Jughead catches her. She explains it was banned this year. Cheryl comes by and makes fun of the Bughead pairing, and I love her all the more for it.

So Cheryl’s here with her besties, Ginger and Tina. Cheryl references Ghost World. Jughead calls Cheryl the Bride of Chucky. Betty reminds Cheryl that she’s not doing her Chem homework for her. Um, both of them are supposed to be in Biology. Anyway, Cheryl’s fine with that. There’s some banter between the three of them, and Cheryl wonders why “vestal virgin” Betty is reading this book, asking if the Fifty Shades trilogy isn’t enough for her “repressed brain”. Jughead makes fun of her, but Betty decides to actually take the time to explain to Cheryl about book banning and how she’s writing an expose for The Blue and Gold about it.

Cheryl finds a note in the book, indicating it’s a gift that Jason had given to Polly. She’s surprised. She goes off about “freaky-deaky”, “sexually perverted” Polly, despite the fact that Jason was the one that gave her the book. She goes off on Betty, referencing The 120 Days of Sodom. Betty digs her fingernails into her palms but manages to restrain herself. Cheryl tosses Betty’s book to her and warns her to be careful lest she get sent away as well. That’s when Betty throws potato salad at the back of Cheryl’s head (Jughead tries to cover for her, taking the blame, but I immediately saw through it). Moose yells “Food fight!” It begins. Cheryl vows to hang Betty and Jughead “like a banner from the gym rafters!!!” Weatherbee shuts it all down before she can get to them, though.

So Jughead takes the credit, and everyone signs Archie’s written account. They present it to Weatherbee. Archie says he had zero role in the food fight, but Weatherbee points out that an impromptu concert is still against the rules. I’m not quite sure that’s worth a Saturday detention, but whatever.

After they leave Weatherbee’s office, all of them except Josie decide to go to Pop’s for burgers and shakes. Josie can still make rehearsal (just how long is it?). Archie takes this as proof that she’s threatened by him. Betty quietly asks Jughead why he covered for her. He has a soft spot for people that oppose book banning, and he insults her throwing capability. She challenges him to an arm-wrestling contest, and he takes it back.

At Pop’s, it looks like twilight or whatever, despite the fact that it’s supposed to be shortly after 3:00 PM. Anyway, they all order breakfast items (Veronica’s is extra fancy). Is this supposed to be the same day? Or did they all just decide to reunite at Pop’s again on Sunday morning? Whatever. Betty declares they really are the Breakfast Club. There’s some more banter.

Cheryl and her besties are sitting in a nearby booth. Tina asks her what she’s thinking. Ginger mentions an incident where Cheryl had made them steal pigs from Farmer Henty’s Farm. Sipping her drink, Cheryl says “I’m thinking I see happiness…I want to destroy it.”

The final caption promises: “Next: Destruction!”

This was a nice, fun story. Cheryl’s blow-up is ironic, knowing what she goes through in season 2.

After the story is a six-page Character Guide (comparing the comic and TV versions of the characters), a one-page cover gallery, an ad for the Road to Riverdale trade paperbacks, an ad for the The Archies one-shot comic, and the cover for the next issue.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…

Riverdale-One-Shot
Writer: Will Ewing
Pencils: Alitha Martinez
Inks: Bob Smith
Colors: Andre Szymanowicz with Thomas Chu
Letters: Janice Chiang
Original Publication: Riverdale One-Shot
Cover Date: April, 2017
On-Sale Date: March 1, 2017
Length: 10 pages

I’m sorry that this is so late.

This is the final story in this issue, which serves as a sort of prequel to the first episode.

This story is narrated by Jughead, who narrates the episodes anyway. One night, at Pop’s, Jughead’s sitting in a booth and staring at his laptop. Pop asks if he can get him anything. Jughead orders another cheeseburger. Pop asks him what he’s doing. Jughead’s writing, well, waiting for inspiration to strike. He changes his order to a double cheeseburger.

Jughead actually wrote “It was a dark and stormy night.” He’s stuck after that. He then starts typing “ALL WORK AND NO PLAY” like in The Shining. Pop gets to have a bit of fun with that by coming up behind Jughead and exclaiming “Heeeere’s…Poppy!” Jughead isn’t amused. Pop observes Jughead really loves burgers. Privately, Jughead admits he loves eating them but not so much serving them.

Betty’s in LA. Reggie’s playing golf at a country club (um, okay; I don’t really picture Reggie as a golf guy; he’s probably doing it for connections). Jughead spends his days at Pop’s and his nights working at the Starlight Drive-In. He has to check that nobody sneaks in for free. That’s what he used to do, growing up, so he usually lets it slide. He hates working the concession stand. His favorite part is running the projector. Jughead gets to pick the movies. His schedule is: Mondays: noir, Tuesdays: horror, Wednesdays: westerns, Thursdays: screwball comedies, Fridays: double features, Saturdays: romance (because date night). Amusingly, a lot of the film characters shown look like Jughead or his friends. Anyway, on Sundays, Jughead cleans up. He has to put up with the Southside Serpents ragging on him.

He starts thinking about writing his own movie, heavily based on his friendship with Archie. We learn Archie dated Midge at one point in freshman year, and he went over to her house when she informed him that her parents were working late. Yeah, they totally fucked.

Back in the present, Archie visits Jughead at Pop’s while picking up food and mentions his summer job and wanting to write poetry. After Jughead nearly makes fun of him, Archie asks what he’s doing on the fourth. Jughead has the day off and suggests the road trip, and you can tell this is supposed to be the same scene from Archie’s story, except the conversation and the guys’ clothes don’t exactly match. Archie picks up his order and then tells Jughead to come by his house at four.

On July 4, Fred answers the door and is confused by Jughead’s appearance, saying Archie left this morning for the road trip. Jughead covers for Archie. After texting Archie every so often for hours (I’d like to point out that Jughead arrived around 46 minutes late) and going to the gazebo and Pop’s, Archie calls off the trip, saying something came up.

Jughead goes to the drive-in and watches Stand By Me that night. A Serpent comes by and offers to let Jughead ride with them up into the hills, but Jughead declines. We get a bit of dialogue from the movie, and I’d like to point out that “shit” is completely uncensored, so what’s the big deal in all of the other cases? Anyway, Jughead falls asleep and wakes up the next morning. He has his usual breakfast at Pop’s: coffee and a cheeseburger. Sheriff Keller comes in for coffee. Pop senses something’s going on (um, okay). Keller informs him that Jason Blossom drowned last night, and he’s on his way down to Sweetwater River. This shocks Jughead.

Then Jughead lets us know the same stuff from the beginning of the first episode. We learn Sweetwater River is connected to the Hudson. Also, Jughead seems suspicious of Archie’s absence from the crime scene in the aftermath.

Jughead’s typing away on his laptop when Fred and Archie come into Pop’s. Fred still thinks they were in Centerville on July 4. Archie thanks Jughead for covering for him. Jughead wants to know where Archie was, but Archie’s vague about it, and Jughead’s had enough of that shit. Archie brushes it off and thinks they’re still buddies. Jughead avoids him and spends the rest of the summer writing about Jason.

This was a pretty good story. I’m not a Jughead fan; he’s my least-favorite character. Still, this was okay. I just wish all of the stories in this one-shot didn’t contradict each other and/or the first episode in small details.

The next page advertises the ongoing series. The page after that is the cover gallery.

Tune in on Wednesday for more biker action!

Comics – Fall from Grace

Riverdale-One-Shot
Writer: James Dewille
Art: Thomas Pitilli
Colors: Andre Szymanowicz
Letters: John Workman
Original Publication: Riverdale One-Shot
Cover Date: April, 2017
On-Sale Date: March 1, 2017
Length: 10 pages

This is the third of four stories in this issue, which serves as a sort of prequel to the first episode.

This story is narrated by Veronica. She loves summer in New York. It’s “dreadfully hot”, but not at the Dakota, where she lives. Veronica’s hanging out on her bed. Someone knocks on her door and informs her that breakfast is ready.

Down in the dining room (which includes one of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe paintings), Veronica enthusiastically greets her mom. Hiram, feeling slighted, clears his throat. Picking up her cup of tea, Veronica informs him that she loves him, too. He tells “mija” that he loves her more. This is their “adorable back ‘n’ forth” that they’ve been doing since Veronica was a baby. The look that the artist went with for Hiram is interesting. He has glasses and a mustache as in the regular comics, but he also has a beard, and his hair is all dark. We learn from Veronica that Hiram doesn’t work as much in the summer. She likes that, because, according to her mom, family meals are “so important”. Oh, and her daddy is the “best”.

As a “typical” girl, Veronica has a summer job at Vogue, does a lot of shopping, takes her friends to Adele concerts (they get box seats, courtesy of her dad) (side note: one of Veronica’s friends is named Camila; cute), goes clubbing at Le Bain, goes out on the family boat (the SS Loophole) with her dad to the Hamptons, and has weekly family dinners at Le Cirque. Hermione suggests some mother/daughter time this week. Veronica suggests massages tomorrow.

Veronica’s favorite part of summer is their annual July 4th party. It’s “super fun”. Everyone’s there, and they all watch the fireworks together from their windows. Suddenly, though, there are knocks at the doors, startling Veronica. The FBI barges in and arrests Hiram for fraud and embezzlement. A shaken Veronica asks him what’s going on. Hiram is arrested and read his rights, much to the shock of his guests. Hiram tells someone to get Veronica out of here, because he doesn’t want her to see this.

Hermione takes Veronica to her room and tells her to stay in there for her “safety”. She promises it’ll all be okay. Veronica listens in as Hiram instucts Hermione to call their lawyers and not talk to anyone. This is the first time that Veronica has known her mother to lie to her. She breaks down in tears.

Veronica loses everything: her summer job at Vogue, her credit cards, her friends (Camila says her mom says she can’t go out with her), and the boat. She can’t even skip the line at a restaurant. She picks up on the insincerity of “Sorry” from everyone.

One night, as Veronica and her mom eat take-out pizza by candlelight, Hermione mentions Hiram’s arrainement and upcoming trial. Also, they have to leave the Dakota. Veronica asks if they’re going to the chalet in Zermatt or the penthouse in Miami, but they’re not. Veronica then gets the horrible feeling that they might be moving to Brooklyn. We learn Hermione and Hiram met while growing up in Riverdale, which Veronica refers to as the “weird town off the Metro North“. Hermione destroys Veronica’s beliefs that her “friends” are really her friends and that New York is home. Hermione says all that they have left is a little pied-a-terre that they’ve kept secretly under her name; she calls Riverdale their “only hope”. Veronica isn’t hungry anymore. She misses Daddy and is so scared of whatever’s coming next.

Later, as Veronica’s packing, she accepts a collect call from her father and begs him to fix this, but he just gives her a pep talk about her own strength. He needs her to be strong now for her mother. Holding a family photo, she agrees. He tells her to not believe the “lies” and says it’s going to be okay. She agrees, wanting and needing to believe him.

Veronica takes one last look at the Dakota as Hermione tells her that it’s time to leave. Racing along the Hudson, Veronica feels her old life falling by the wayside. She wonders who she’ll be now. She’s starving. She gets in a funny line when she asks her mom where “weird upstate people” eat. This officially places Riverdale in upstate New York, despite the show’s unwillingness to actually name the state (Josie name-dropped Rockland County in the first episode, though, which is nowhere near upstate). Hermione tells Veronica of a place in Riverdale that she used to love call Pop’s. As they enter Riverdale (in a different vehicle than in the episode), she wonders if it’s still open.

This was a pretty good story. The only thing lacking was bitchy, mean-girl Veronica. That’s what Veronica said she was like back in New York. It would have been nice to see it and to see how her father’s arrest and the collapse of her entire world forced her to change.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Summer Nights

Riverdale-One-Shot
Writer: Britta Lundin
Art: Jim Towe
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Janice Chiang
Original Publication: Riverdale One-Shot
Cover Date: April, 2017
On-Sale Date: March 1, 2017
Length: 10 pages

I’m sorry that this is a bit late. It’s a substitution. I had planned to review Betty & Veronica Vixens #8 yesterday, but I discovered I didn’t have enough of a gift card balance to purchase it. Oopsie.

Anyway, let’s get to the story. This is the second of four in this issue, which serves as a sort of prequel to the first episode.

While Polly does Betty’s hair, Betty’s writing in her diary. Betty is excited, because she got the internship and is going to Los Angeles for the summer. It means no Archie but also no Mom.

As if on cue, Alice walks in, worried, because it’s “unnatural for a girl to want to be away from her family”. Betty points out that she’s staying with Aunt Gertrude. Polly tries to assure Alice. Alice takes the opportunity to shit on the River Vixens, cars (what the fuck?), and “that boy”. Polly stands up, pokes her mom in the chest, and says his name is Jason. Alice swears sometimes it feels like she doesn’t know her own daughters. As she leaves, Betty thanks Polly. Polly says she’ll see her when she gets back and tells Betty to have an amazing summer.

Before we move on to the next scene, what the fuck is Betty writing in? It’s supposedly her diary, but it looks like a notepad. Maybe it’s her cell phone or something. Also, she seems to be left-handed (not complaining, just pointing it out).

It’s a pain getting to the airport. Betty has to sit in the middle seat on the plane, squeezed between two dudes. Aunt Gertrude’s house smells “weird”. The traffic is “horrifying”. The TV is “broken”. Um, more like the little rabbit-ears antenna gets no reception. How old is Aunt Gertrude, anyway? Standing on a hilltop and looking out over the city, though, Betty finds it “amazing”.

Betty’s internship at HelloGiggles (misspelled here with a space) is “so cool”. She loves the Grove (especially riding on streetcars). The weather is “amazing”. The best thing is the freedom (from her mom, no doubt). Someone comes up to Betty while she’s laying out on a towel and says hi.

Back in Riverdale, Polly is on her cell phone, chatting with Betty. She’s not interested in what Betty has to say and asks what the boys are like. Alice overhears and asks if “Elizabeth” is calling collect. Polly informs her out-of-touch mom that Betty has a cell phone. Betty’s hanging out at the beach and tells Polly about the guy that she met, Rad Brad. She also tells Polly to not laugh and says he’s nice. Polly wants to hear everything. Brad skateboards, surfs, brings her food sometimes (from Taco Now!), and helps her with the Toni Morrison book party that she’s organizing. Polly’s impressed. Betty says Brad asked her out to dinner at Mel’s (Betty has to explain to Polly what that is). Betty’s unsure if she’s interested in him “like that”, but Polly tells “Betts” to do it, because she deserves “a little love”. Watching the sunset, Betty considers it and asks how Polly and Jason are. Not smiling, Polly tells her to not worry about them.

Before we move on to the next scene, some notes about Polly’s bedroom: she has a large American flag on the wall behind her bed and a lava lamp on her night stand.

On their date, Betty looks at the pricey food on the menu and offers to split a milkshake, but Brad doesn’t “do dairy”. She orders a chocolate milkshake. He asks what she thinks of LA so far. She loves it (moreso than Riverdale, it seems). He offers to show her the city.

They go to a carnival. He buys her cotton candy. Betty talks about her rejection from the River Vixens last year, due to Cheryl. She doesn’t “really” hate living in a small town, because her friends and Archie are there. After he asks about Archie, and she says he’s not her boyfriend, Brad suddenly kisses Betty on the lips, surprising her. She apologizes to him (don’t; he owes you an apology!) and asks him to take her back to her aunt’s house.

On July 5th, Betty calls home and is informed by Alice that Polly’s “gone away for a bit”, because she’s “not herself right now”. Betty wants to fly home, but Alice suggests she stay there and also informs her that Jason drowned yesterday. A shocked Betty drops her cell phone. After she picks it up, Alice tells her to stay in LA, because there’s nothing that she can do, so she stays.

Nothing ends up happening with Brad, because it just doesn’t feel right, so he leaves her at Mel’s to sob into her expensive chocolate milkshake.

Her internship is amazing. The book signing goes off without a hitch. Toni even signs her book. Betty feels like she’s finally found her voice. Her coworkers present her with a “We’ll Miss You!” cake. She definitely made some new friends. It was a summer unlike any that she’d ever had before.

However, as much as she loves the reserved seating at the ArcLight, the Truffle Burger at Umami (um, I guess money isn’t an issue anymore), and hiking to the Hollywood Sign at sunset, Betty admits missing home, the bijou, Pop’s, her friends, and Polly. She almost misses her mom, and she really misses Archie. Her mom promised her, by the time that she’s home, everything will be back to normal. It wasn’t.

Something changed while she was away. She saw it in the way that people walked and looked at her (or didn’t). She saw it in her sister’s room (Alice got rid of everything except the flag and furniture), where she could still feel her presence (likening it to a car hood that’s still warm).

Betty realizes she’s changed over the summer. She learned a lot about herself, including what she wants, and she’s going to get it, no matter what. She makes herself up and then goes to Pop’s, where Archie’s waiting in a booth with a chocolate milkshake and two straws, and greets him. He smiles back at her. Like in the previous story, I guess this is the beginning of their meeting at Pop’s from the first episode, but their outfits don’t match either the previous story or the episode. The milkshake doesn’t match the previous story either.

This was a pretty good coming-of-age story. Apparently, it will be continued, but I believe it’s referring to the show. I do have to point out that Betty’s outfits are more normal for a teenage girl than the “prim and proper” outfits that she wears on the show.

Tune in next Wednesday!