Mark Waid finishes his first year in Riverdale and a flashback to Seattle one year ago highlights today’s edition.
Written by Mark Waid
Art by… there are, like, seven artists listed between solicitations, the cover and credit pages…
The first year of the revamped Archie universe comes to an end with this issue. Waid takes all the little threads he’s built up over the last eleven issues and pays them off in the first year finale and, really, no one ends up entirely happy. From what I remember my teenage years, that seems pretty true to life…
Veronica and Archie haven’t spoken since the end of the Battle of the Bands, where Archie and Betty hugged out their issues. Betty and her boyfriend are also having problems, since Sayid spied the former couple hugging as well. And Beronica’s dad is ready to hear his name called as Riverdale’s new mayor. That doesn’t end well, either, as both Lodge and his opponent – Betty’s uncle – lose to a third party candidate. And because Mr. Lodge doesn’t like losing, everyone’s world starts to unravel in a way that could only happen in Riverdale.
We end the issue with Archie, his girlfriend now gone, and Betty, her boyfriend having just dumped her, on an airport tarmac comforting each other, and you can just feel the teenage angst spilling off the page.
Waid spent the last 12 issues exploring the established love triangle between Archie, Betty and Veronica without it being goofy in the way that it was in the original Archie comics. The writing and the amazing art keeps Archie as one of my favorite books every month. With the promise – threat? – of Cheryl Blossom coming next month, I have no doubt Waid will keep the momentum going.
Green Arrow 7
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Stephen Byrne
We go from Archie to archery here, as Green Arrow continues a two-part interlude after the opening Rebirth arc. Focusing mostly on Oliver Queen’s half-sister Emiko and her attempt to save her mother Shado from the clutches of the Yakuza, Ollie only appears in flashbacks. Back one year earlier, Ollie and Emiko team up to take down the Clock King, who has found a way to steal the life force from rich brats with fashionable watches. I wonder if he came up with the Apple Watch…
It’s a fun interlude, as Ollie has been left on the island where he was stranded for five years, but even after all the time that’s been spent establishing Ollie and Emiko’s relationship, I don’t really care about her or Shado at all. I’m much more invested in the relationship between Ollie and Black Canary and seeing Green Arrow in action. Stephen Byrne’s art, though, is really great and makes the issue more palatable. But I do hope we get back to Ollie’s story soon.
Justice League 5
Written by Bryan Hitch
Pencils by Tony S. Daniel
Inks by Sandu Florea
I think I’m officially done with the Rebirth Justice League book, at least while Bryan Hitch is on the book. The final chapter of the first post-Rebirth Justice League story felt like a boiler plate with very few of the salient details mixed in, and on the whole the story left me very unfulfilled.
We’ve seen similar stories dozens of times – an invading alien force and a mysterious threat are looming over Earth and the Justice League splits up to stop it. But what the better League stories do is add a little heart and a little depth to the story, so we can get invested in what’s going on. Despite various League members expressing concern over the last five issues that they may not be able to stop this “Extinction Machine,” it never felt like it was a big threat.
That’s not to say that Hitch – who cut his teeth as an artist – can’t handle making something feel like a threat. In his pre-Rebirth JLA book he managed to have the invading Kryptonians seem menacing.
The story only briefly deals with the fact that there’s a new Superman on the scene before drafting Clark into action to help defeat the threat, and Batman is left to make sure Lois and son Jon are safe. A lot more probably could have been done with an examination of whether the League can trust this new Superman – the story would certainly have been more interesting. But instead we have this missed opportunity.
I’m sure DC Comics will come up with another book that will convince me to hand over my $2.99 in the stead of Justice League, but I’ll enjoy the extra cash for now…