Archie and Betty seemed like the perfect couple...until they broke up over "the lipstick incident." What's the lipstick incident? They refuse to say. Their friends try to get them to make up and get back together, but nothing seems to work. And now Veronica, a beautiful heiress, has moved into town, and Archie seems to be wrapped around her finger.
This was an impulse purchase. I have absolutely no nostalgic feelings for the original Archie comics. Neither their art style nor their humor worked for me. But then I tried and enjoyed the Jughead reboot. When I spotted the first volume of the Archie reboot while book shopping, I figured "hey, why not?"
The first three issues worked best for me. Fiona Staples' artwork was great - there was a nice energy to it, and the characters' facial expressions were fabulous. One of my top favorite panels is the one where Archie got a job at an ice cream shop and somehow managed to set all the ice cream on fire.
I was really curious about the lipstick incident and actually managed to guess what had happened before it was revealed. The full story was...a little disappointing. And didn't quite gel with something that happened earlier in the volume. There was a part where Betty got ready for a party that should have been a painful reminder of the lipstick incident and yet somehow wasn't.
I liked Annie Wu's art well enough, although not as much as Fiona Staples', but Veronica Fish's art didn't appeal to me at all. I also didn't enjoy those portions of the story as much. Whereas the first part of the volume was focused on characters' efforts to get Betty and Archie back together and maybe find out what the lipstick incident was, the second half of the volume was more about getting between Veronica and Archie. And there was an interrupted centipede joke that definitely didn't live up to its build-up.
I liked that Veronica wasn't 100% awful. Okay, so she was horribly spoiled and stuck up, but she wasn't malicious, and there were times when she was genuinely nice. Reggie Mantle was more of a true villain than her. I just wasn't as interested in the efforts to break her and Archie up (although, were they really dating? it was more like he was being blackmailed...) as I was in the efforts to herd Archie and Betty back towards each other and hopefully talk through their problems.
Overall, I enjoyed this, although I'm not sure yet whether I'll be continuing on with it.
An introduction by Fiona Staples, a cover art gallery (four pages of teenie tiny covers), a 2-page "how this comic was made" feature, an afterword by Mark Waid, and a 20-page preview of the Jughead reboot.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)