Subway Shorts – Consequences

In two of the bigger releases this week – in my opinion, anyway – the Riverdale gang deals with the repercussions of last month’s cliffhanger in Archie, while Bruce starts to tell Selena a story over in Batman.

Archie 21
Written by Mark Waid 
Art by Pete Woods and Jack Morelli

When last we saw our pals in Riverdale, Archie and Reggie were squaring off in a drag race and Betty was racing up to stop them, with disastrous results. After a month of waiting for a payoff, the latest issue of Archie… is a bit of a filler issue until the third part of the OVER THE EDGE story, which hits next month.

Archie Jughead

And that’s a little disappointing, but Waid makes it work, as we get scenes showing the Archie, Reggie and Betty’s friends getting the word of the tragic accident. Short vignettes show what Jughead, Mr. Weatherbee, Dilton and Moose and Veronica were doing when they each received a phone call. It allows Waid to inject a level of humor into the book when dealing with a serious issue.

It’s fun and well done, of course, because Waid rarely disappoints with his Archie stories, but it felt like a cheat, as it’s not until the final pages where we see the consequences of Archie and Reggie’s little spat. Everyone rushes to the hospital, and we get the slow reveals of everyone’s fate. We see Archie and then Reggie, both concerned but seemingly OK. And then…

Archie Betty.PNG

These little morality tales have a funny way of playing out in a similar fashion.

The tease for the next issue promises a change to Archie’s status quo, and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about that. I’ve enjoyed Waid’s take on the characters. He’s updated the entire Riverdale gang in a way that doesn’t take things too far, certainly a much safer stretch than the CW version of RIVERDALE, but this is one of those things that I feel like I can do without. I don’t want to see Betty Cooper cling to life in a hospital bed, because Archie and Reggie were stupid. Leave that sort of thing to the TV showrunners.

But Waid has me hooked. So, I’ll be back next month to see how this all plays out.

You know who else has me hooked? Pete Woods, with his artwork this issue. As I mentioned the Riverdale TV show, take a look at the scene up above. Woods drawing Betty’s dad – I assume it’s Betty’s dad – like Lochlyn Munro, who plays Hal Cooper on the show, was fantastic. I assume Betty’s mom was supposed to be designed after Mädchen Amick, but she’s a bit far off in the shot. Top notch work, as usual, from Woods.

Batman Knock

Batman 25
Written by Tom King
Art by Mikel Janin and June Chung 

Whenever DC Comics has one of their continuity reboots, like they did with Rebirth, it always feels like Batman confuses the issue. It’s never a clean start for Bruce Wayne or his family, and that seems to be the case once again. Tom King piggybacks a bit off of Scott Snyder’s ZERO YEAR story to tell his latest tale, a war between The Joker and The Riddler.

The opening salvo of THE WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES was a great introduction to the story, and King seems to thrive when he’s writing the villains. If the first issue is any indication, this may be his best story yet. But it rings a bit hollow, because of what happened at the end of last issue. Bruce Wayne – Batman – proposed to Selena Kyle – Catwoman – to close the last issue and we get barely any follow-up here. Bruce and Selena are engaged in pillow talk, in fact the whole arc is Batman telling Catwoman a story so she better understands him.

It’s an interesting way to slow the pace down and let everyone catch their breaths a bit before we start planning a Bat-wedding, but a little more forward movement would have been nice.