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!

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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!

Comics – Sweetwater

Riverdale-One-Shot.jpg
Writer: Brian E. Paterson
Art: Elliot Fernandez
Colors: Thomas Chu
Letters: John Workman
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. This can be blamed on two things: thunderstorms (today) and a drunken redneck country karaoke party with fireworks (yesterday). Imagine the worst goddamn country music that you can think of and then imagine it being sung by a bunch of drunks…while shooting off fireworks…pretty much right in your backyard.

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

Archie’s hanging out by himself at Pop’s. He narrates about stuff. Wait, who’s he narrating to and why? Anyway, he thinks about a movie quote. Betty left Riverdale for a summer internship in L.A. a week ago. He and Jughead had a falling out. With no school, no friends, and no football practices (Archie practiced football before the show?), he decided to help his dad full-time at Andrews Construction. He has a feeling that “there’s something big coming”.

So we get a montage. Basically, Archie bulks up (getting looks from the ladies in the process) and composes poems in his head.

One day, Fred decides to clean out the garage – after Archie has worked a ten-hour shift. Basically, Fred’s a packrat and doesn’t wanna throw any useless shit out. He has a Stratocaster from back in the day. Archie’s surprised that Fred used to play and wants to borrow it, but he has to be content with the acoustic guitar that his dad got him for his sixteenth birthday.

Then we get the flashback from the first episode where Ms. Grundy picked Archie up after work, but it doesn’t exactly match the scene in the episode. Every night, she picks him up after work, they drive out to Sweetwater River, and they fuck. Archie has some mixed feelings and is insecure. Typical teenage stuff.

One day, “Geraldine” drops him off at home and notices the guitar on his front porch. They go up to the porch, and he plays for her. She says he has potential and suggests “private lessons”. He agrees.

One day, toward the end of June, he stops by Pop’s after work, because he wants to surprise Ms. Grundy with dinner. Jughead’s there, typing on his laptop, and he invites Archie to catch up with him. He does. Suddenly, Jughead suggests they take a road trip down to Centerville on the Fourth of July to see fireworks, like they used to when they were kids. Archie agrees, although he’s not sure why.

On July 3rd, Archie’s hanging out with Ms. Grundy outside somewhere. They both love summer. He asks what she’s doing for the Fourth. She says going camping down by Sweetwater River. She invites him to come, and he agrees.

Then we get the July 4th flashback from Archie’s perspective that we saw in episode 02, except, again, it’s not quite the same, since the comic adds a campfire and a blanket.

They’re mostly silent during the ride home and tell themselves that it was a hunter, shooting a deer, or fireworks. Archie asks who’s lighting fireworks at 6:00 AM on July 4th, but, from what I’ve witnessed around here, idiots light fireworks at all times of the day, even before July 4th.

Anyway, then they hear the whole thing about Cheryl and Jason. Clifford looks way too blue-collar (literally) and shows more compassion in this comic than he did on the show. Ms. Grundy turns into a nervous wreck, suddenly feels it was all wrong, and makes Archie promise to keep quiet. She breaks it off with him and drops him off at home. He understands it’s right and for the best, but it still hurts like hell.

On July 6th, Archie’s with Jughead at Pop’s. He’d forgotten about their broken date. Jughead is upset and questions Archie about it. Archie nervously says his dad needed his help, but Jughead sees through his lie and leaves.

After that, Archie puts his poems to paper and realizes they’re song lyrics about dying young and losing friends.

By July 26th, he’s filled up the notebook with song lyrics.

On August 13th, he picks up his guitar (which he’d already picked up on July 26th) and “[writes his] guts out” until the last day of summer vacation.

Then Betty texts him. She’s back home from her internship and invites him to Pop’s. He considers telling her everything but doesn’t because of his promise to Ms. Grundy. He accepts her invitation.

Then we get what I guess is the beginning of their meeting at Pop’s from the first episode, but their outfits don’t match at all. Archie had ordered milkshakes (strawberry for him, vanilla for her). They hug.

He wonders how different that things might have been if he’d just been honest with Betty that night instead of pretending nothing had happened.

This was a pretty good. story. Apparently, it will be continued, but I’m not sure if it means on the show or in the next story in the issue (which isn’t a continuation).

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Bring It On

Riverdale-1
Writer: Michael Grassi
Art: Joe Eisma
Colors: Andre Szymanowicz
Letters: John Workman
Original Publication: Riverdale, No. 1
Cover Date: May, 2017
On-Sale Date: April 5, 2017
Length: 10 pages

One evening (or overcast day), Cheryl leaves flowers for Jason on the bank of Sweetwater River. She’s sad but also angry. Art note: Cheryl’s eye color has been inconsistent over the decades. In the classic comics, it’s usually green but sometimes blue. The front cover of Riverdale One-Shot (a.k.a. Riverdale #0) has them as brown. Her eyes are blue in this story.

Anyway, Jason was her first greatest love. Her second is being captain of the River Vixens. During practice, Betty and Veronica have to hold Cheryl up (and are none-too-pleased about it) as she proudly cheers “Be aggressive! Be-be aggressive!” Interesting cheer. Cheryl thinks of herself as their “Red Queen”. I’ll refrain from making a Resident Evil joke.

As Cheryl walks with her besties, Ginger and Tina, down a hallway, the latter two insult Betty. There’s a cute background gag of someone (Chuck?) checking out the girls and then walking into an open locker door.

Cheryl assures her “little lip-tinted creatures” that she’ll torture Betty and get her to quit the team by having a “hell week” just like the football team. Polly used to be a River Vixen, and Cheryl ain’t having another Cooper on her squad.

As they approach Betty and Veronica, Betty tries to make pleasant small talk with Cheryl, but Cheryl gives Betty her first task: wear a special Vixen uniform, provided by Cheryl, for an entire school day.

After school, Betty has Veronica over at her house. After receiving the very skimpy outfit, Betty writes in her diary that Cheryl is demonic. Veronica, lying on Betty’s bed and reading a magazine, calls it “some basic bitch psychological warfare”, except “bitch” is censored. Let me make this clear: a tie-in coic for the show censors a word that is often uttered on said show. This is a motherfucking Teen-rated title; why is “bitch” not allowed?

Anyway, Veronica says she used to do the same to the girls at Spence and tells Betty to fuck it. Betty says Polly loved being a River Vixen and would be captain instead of Cheryl. She refuses to let Cheryl win and needs to do this for Polly. She takes off her clothes and puts on the uniform, surprising Veronica.

The next day, at school, Betty proudly struts down on a hallway in the skimpy outfit (which somehow doesn’t get her sent home). Veronica, by her side, announces “hotness” coming through. Archie and Jughead are amazed. Cheryl’s besties are amazed that Betty actually did it. Tina says Betty looks “amazing”, but Cheryl tells her “minion” to shut up and declares Betty dead.

At practice, Cheryl congratulates Betty on surviving round one. She then explains the backstory for round two: last year, Baxter High creamed them at spirit regionals, because Betty’s” meth-head sister Polly” flubbed the routine and lost them the Golden Whistle. Betty declares they’ll win it back at this year’s competition. Cheryl loves Betty’s “can-do Cooper attitude” but wants her to break into Baxter High and steal it back. If it’s not sitting around Cheryl’s “elegant and slender neck” by morning practice, Betty’s off the squad.

Betty goes through with it and rags on Veronica for wearing heels to a break-in. Veronica tells Betty to lay off the “choos”, claiming they’re good luck.

Betty opens a window into the boys’ bathroom, climbs in, and helps Veronica in. Veronica asks why and how she’s so good at this. Betty claims she’s “mechanically inclined” and learned to pick locks at an early age, because her mom’s a chronic door-locker. Veronica is amazed.

They find the trophy case. Betty is in awe of the stupid-ass Golden Whistle. She can’t get the case open. Veronica warns “Nancy Drew” before smashing the glass with a fire extinguisher.

As Betty recounts in her diary, someone called in an anonymous tip to the Sheriff’s office, so Sheriff Keller comes in, busts them, and hauls their asses to the station. Betty guesses it was Cheryl’s doing. The moms are called. Hermione is understanding toward “mija”, but Alice drags Betty away, assuming Veronica put her up to this. Betty says she didn’t. Alice lectures Betty for hours and grounds her for a month (this has no bearing on the show). But it doesn’t matter, because Betty has the Golden Whistle (which she stupidly openly displays while her angry mom is driving her home).

The next day, after Betty presents the Golden Whistle to Cheryl, Cheryl’s narration informs us that she hates everyone. She rags on Sheriff Keller for once again proving to be useless. As she silently plans to “hit Betty where it hurts”, Cheryl is outwardly impressed. As Cheryl starts talking about Betty’s final task, Betty’s diary entry goes into a sixth-grade class trip to Riot Park. She, Cheryl, Polly, and Jason were all there. Remembering Betty was too scared to ride the Behemoth, and in order to make sure Betty can sit astride the top of the pyramid, Cheryl forces Betty to prove she’s not still scared of heights by standing on the ledge of the school roof for five minutes after school.

After school, Cheryl, Archie, Jughead, Chuck, and a bunch of other students gather outside. Cheryl predicts, if Betty shows up, she won’t last thirty seconds. Betty does show up. She’s scared shitless but calms herself. She admits Cheryl’s right: she’s terrified of heights. However, Cheryl forgot one thing: Betty conquered her fear that day in sixth grade; she rode the Behemoth, clutching hands with Polly, who didn’t let go of her hand for the entire ride.

Betty admits she couldn’t do this alone, and she doesn’t have her big sister to save her this time, but she has the next best thing: a new BFF. Lucky for her, Cheryl never said she had to do it alone, so Veronica joins Betty on the roof’s ledge, and they join hands. Betty barely survived hell week, but it was worth it, if only to see the look on Cheryl’s face. Betty’s proud and believes Polly would be proud also. Cheryl, however, while admitting Betty survived hell week, swears on Jason’s ghost that she won’t stop until Betty and Veronica feel the same pain that she does.

This was a nice story! Apparently, it will be continued (unlike the previous story, which is stated to be the end), but this story seems complete in itself. It’s interesting to look back and see Cheryl so antagonistic to the girls (and Betty in particular), knowing the three of them eventually become close friends on the show.

After the story is a lightweight, five-page “special look” at the show, a one-page cover gallery, and the cover for the next issue.

Tune in next Wednesday!

Comics – Bloodsport

Riverdale-1.jpg
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!