Rating: 5/5 – A Fitting End For a Comic Book Icon.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
In 2009 Archie Comics put their flagship character into a situation that he hadn’t been in before by placing him years into the future and showing the reader what his life would be like if he was married. The plan was to take their seventy plus year old character and explore his possible futures, one where he’s married to Betty, and the other where he’s married to Veronica. It brought the character a level of press that hadn’t been seen in years, and a freshness to the aged character that was definitely needed. Last year also brought the fantastic Afterlife with Archie series that put the Archie cast of characters into a more mature and frightening tale, capitalizing on the zombie craze that shows and comics like the Walking Dead have made so popular. Now, Archie Comics looks to keep the world’s attention on Archie and his rich cast of characters by chronicling his death in this alternate future timeline.
Life With Archie number thirty-six, written by Paul Kupperberg sets the reader up with everything they need to know in case they haven’t been following the series. In a packed two-page synopsis, you’re caught up on the series’ first thirty-five issues in order to enjoy this story. The editors realize that this issue, because of all the media attention, will be the first for a lot of readers and they make sure to bring them up to speed. In terms of story, Kupperberg makes you wish that you’d have followed this series since the beginning. He tells a touching and realistic tale that highlights the traits of the characters we all know, while also letting the reader know that they’ve changed. The tale is told mostly through Archie’s voice as we see snippets of his life from a variety of different time periods. We see his first meeting of Betty and Veronica, his relationship with his teenage kids, and interactions with the large but never overwhelming supporting cast.
Although Archie’s reminiscing of different periods of his life is the primary story, we also get to see a plot involving the character Kevin Keller that will tie directly into the main story, giving the issue weight and a sense of impending tragedy since we know where the story’s going. It’s all paced perfectly over the course of this issue’s forty-plus pages and never once does the story drag or feel weighed down by the amount of characters. The dialogue kept true to Archie and it’s characters and appropriate for the the all ages audience they’re going for.
With death and change (sometimes change just for the sake of change) all around the comic book market right now, the death of Archie in this issue doesn’t seem forced, and it doesn’t feel cheap. It’s a satisfying conclusion to his journey within the pages of Life with Archie, and with just one more issue in the series, it’s refreshing to see a character have a realistic end. Archie will still be alive and well within the main series of books so those looking to continue reading the fun and more continuity-free Archie still have those titles to read and enjoy. It’s great to see Archie getting this level of attention and this issue proves that the attention is well deserved. Archie Comics as a company is doing a lot of things right lately and this series, and this important issue is a perfect example of it. Archie is such an important character not only to so many fans, but to the comic book industry as a whole. Hopefully after readers see his death here, new life will be be breathed into the other Archie titles.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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