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Archie #600 Review

I know I probably shouldn’t be doing this, but I can’t help but compare Michael Uslan’s “Archie Marries _____” six-part series against the recent “New Look” Archie stories. I can’t help myself because both comics seem to be designed as “lures” to bring a new crowd in to give Archie comics a try.

So while I have not enjoyed Melanie Morgan’s “New Look” series of comics (I think her writing style seems to work better for tween novels than for comics) all that much (even while the art on some of them have been quite good – especially Norm Breyfogle’s current storyline), I think Michael Uslan does a nice job with Archie #600.

The story opens a bit oddly, only because it is the final gig of The Archies at Riverdale High. So while it can be assumed that this is set in the future, that’s not made clear, exactly, so I found that a bit odd.

Otherwise, though, Uslan uses a cute, “It’s A Wonderful Life”-esque plot device to get Archie four years into the future, as everyone is graduating from “State University” (famous alums include Reed Richards and Ben Grimm).

Uslan does a very nice job finding each character’s “voice” in the future, but what’s most impressive to me is how much he’s willing to have the character’s make what is pretty clearly the wrong choice.

Really, it’s admirable to see just how wrong Uslan shows Archie’s decision to propose to Veronica is. Forget the whole “he should be with Betty” part of the equation, Uslan’s just showing us that Archie is making an ill-informed (fairly juvenile really) stab at adding some normalcy to his life. Everyone else has moved on, so shouldn’t Archie? That’s what he thinks and so he does what he thinks you do when you “move on.”

It’s pretty strong stuff for an Imaginary Story, but really, I think Uslan is just calling back to the stories he knows well from the past, like the great Imaginary Stories of DC Comics, which used the freedom of the Imaginary Story to tell some fairly mature stories for their era.

I do wonder if he’ll use a similar approach in #603-605, which will be an Imaginary Story where Archie proposes to Betty instead. It seems, so far, that this marriage is not headed in the right direction – I wonder if he’d use that same approach with a Betty marriage?

Stan Goldberg’s pencils are a bit loose at times (and really, what an non-dynamic cover for such a major issue), but he’s really the closest Archie Comics has right now to Dan DeCarlo, so he was a good pick to do the art. I don’t think he hurt the story at all (Bob Smith does a nice job on inks because, as I mentioned, DeCarlo’s pencils were loose at times).

So yeah, for an issue meant to bring new audiences to the book, I think it would have a good chance of hooking them!

Recommended.

19 Comments

You mean that guy who sold his copy of issue #1 because he was mad about Archie proposing to Veronica may have jumped the gun a bit? What a shocker!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

August 19, 2009 at 5:55 pm

That guy did it for the money!

If that guy were as big an Archie collector as he said he was, he’d know better and be familiar with the vagaries of comics contiuity, especially in Archie Comics. He’s full of it and was probably looking to start selling off omeof his comics in the first place and wanted some publicity.

My gut still says after this “run” is done we’ll get an “Archie marries Betty” one, too. (And dare I hope for “Archie Marries Juggie”? It is a new age in matrimony!)

I’d like to see an ‘Archie Marries Midge’ storyline, followed by the obvious sequel, ‘Archie’s Funeral’.

I don’t know, joecab. He might have just been ticked off. I mean, I’m fully aware of the vagaries of comics, but when Black Canary “killed” Green Arrow at the end of their wedding special I quit buying the title after 20 years and dumped almost all of my (post-Grell) back issues. I knew it was just a tease for the new series and wouldn’t be permanent; I knew he wasn’t dead or anything and it was just a gimmick; but it pissed me off because after 20 years I just wanted one issue of them just… getting married, you know? Maybe this guy was just so chapped that they were printing this story at all that he snapped.

” Otherwise, though, Uslan uses a cute, “It’s A Wonderful Life”-esque plot device to get Archie four years into the future, as everyone is graduating from “State University” (famous alums include Reed Richards and Ben Grimm). ”

At least Archie wasn’t drafted to go to A War, yes?

Hmm you may be right Scott… and Mary, your post cracked me up

Scott, I agree with you about the Green Arrow moment, and not just because we have the same name. That was such a poorly-timed moment between Ollie and Dinah that it made me recycle the comic book. Sacrilege, I know, but it really disappointed me and I didn’t want it in my collection.

I think Stan Goldberg makes Archie look too heavy.

And I’ve said this elsewhere, but who wants to see Archie marry Betty? Where’s the fun in that? That’ll be, like, five issues of watching Betty’s butt expand and having beige, bland Little Archies.

Of course Arch would marry Ronnie. She’s the one who lets him know that she wants to be with him. Betty’s nice and all, but she gets awfully timid when it comes to Archie, and often backs down too easily.

Betty lives in New York and Veronica lives overseas?

I would totally marry both and carry on a secret double life.

Aside from the Archie digest, reprinting the first issue, I can say that , after some near 50 years of reading comics, and 41 of collecting, I broke down,& bought My first Arch issue of Archie, off the stands. and a copy for my niece.Im sure she’ll wreck her copy.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

August 20, 2009 at 4:57 pm

If that guy were as big an Archie collector as he said he was, he’d know better and be familiar with the vagaries of comics contiuity, especially in Archie Comics. He’s full of it and was probably looking to start selling off omeof his comics in the first place and wanted some publicity.

He’s not full of it – read an article about the guy – he did it because he needed the money.
The paper said he did it because of the Veronica marriage, but he only said he preferred Betty when asked about it.
Don’t trust headlines.

Go Team Veronica!

Wesley: I agree…most of the cast looks too heavy…or Veronica really peaked in high school.

joecab: a Betty story is practically guaranteed in this first issue, in a very clever bit of word play.*

Something I REALLY liked was the idea/concept/pun used to set up the imaginary story.

Archie is walking around town, trying to sort out his life, and he winds up on Memory Lane. Rather than walk down it as usual, he decides to walk up Memory Lane.

The play on words to set up the idea of seeing the future is just fantastic. I’ve never thought of the phrase “a walk down memory lane” and thought…what happens if you walk UP memory lane…..it’s just amazingly clever.

*on the walk, he comes to a fork in the road, and chooses the left path, deciding he’ll look at the right path later. Again, very clever word play, which I think also tells us that after the 6 issues of Ronnie World, we’ll be heading to the BettyVerse.

Yeah, like I mentioned, the set-up was very nicely handled by Uslan.

And Scavenger, I believe it’s three issues Veronica/three issues Betty rather than a six-issue Veronica story.

ARCHIE IS $2.50?! That’s really annoying.

Brian, I thought 6 issues seemed rather long for an Archie series, but then thought maybe they wanted to dedicate a year to the idea.

I get very jazzed when someone comes up with a thought that frankly is obvious “walking UP memory lane” but no one has. Kind of the opposite of Morrison’s style of wild over the top ideas, just simple, elegant. Kinda like..Moore?…noticing that in Hal Jordan’s origin story, Abin Sur…who could fly thru space, was for some reason in a spaceship and writing a story about it…it’s one of those “Why didn’t I think/wonder about that before?” moments.

I get very jazzed when someone comes up with a thought that frankly is obvious “walking UP memory lane” but no one has. Kind of the opposite of Morrison’s style of wild over the top ideas, just simple, elegant. Kinda like..Moore?…noticing that in Hal Jordan’s origin story, Abin Sur…who could fly thru space, was for some reason in a spaceship and writing a story about it…it’s one of those “Why didn’t I think/wonder about that before?” moments.

Agreed, it was a very clever bit by Uslan and yeah, I, too, thought, “Huh, that’s funny that I’ve never heard that before!”

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