Other creators involved in the making of this comic include: Inking by Rich Koslowski, Letters by Jack Morelli, and Coloring by Digikore Studios
Content/Trigger Warning: Toxic jealousy and obsession
For fans of the original Archie comics and for lovers of Riverdale, we finally get a designated comic about Valerie and Archie! A long awaited book and romance away from the traditional feud between Betty & Veronica over Archie-kins! We join all the original gang; Bettey, Archie, Jugghead, Veronica, with appearances of Reggie, the Pussycat Dolls, Dilton, Cheryl Blossom, and a cameo with Sabrina the Teenage Witch. We follow the classic love triangle between our three favorite characters, but get rocked like never before when Valerie shows up to shake things up! Archie and Val aren’t the only ones getting close and cozy in this graphic novel. Get ready for some major lovin’ happening as we dive into the Riverdale realm once again!
“With Valerie’s family in Riverdale, she’ll have even more reason to be here! Closer to our Archie!”
Growing up, the Archie comics were one of my go-to reads! I remember every weekend my mother and I would go out early to the store to pick up some things and I would grab one of the comics at checkout! Now that I’m older, I’ve been hit with a terrible case of nostalgia and really wanted to pick up an Archie comic once again. However, revisiting old memories and sacred childhood books has always been like flipping a coin. It can go fifty-fifty with me either loving it like I always did or I end up in shock and completely disliking it. I find myself hesitant to admit this, but for once, I’m not in love with an Archie comic.
Now don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of aspects of this comic that I really enjoyed. The artwork of this comic is absolutely gorgeous just as I remember the comics use to be. They’re bright, pop with life, and draw the reader to each page. If I had to choose a world that I wanted to live in, this would be one of the worlds I would want to be a part of! Plus, it really gives off a homely old time vibe which is so nostalgic for me as I come from a small town. It really gives me a piece of home that I miss deeply. And a side note, the added sketches in the back were an amazing bonus that had me in love!
This comic also gives interracial relationship representation. Of course we have Archie and Valerie, but the author also gave us the relationship between Betty and Trev (Valerie’s brother). I love that we got to have two relationships out of this book, but I also love the fact that we got the interracial couples representation that isn’t too often talked about in books. I also love the fact that both relationships felt very sincere and in some senses, realistic. The author really put in the method of supporting one another while building the relationship between Val and Archie as well as Trev and Betty. Although, there were times where it felt too lovey dovey to the point of pushing the line between realistic and unrealistic relationships. Plus, seeing that cute and adorable musical family dynamic was such a blessing. I was absolutely in love with that added content! Although, I wasn’t a particular fan of adding the “child star” element into this story and it turned me off from the whole family dynamic as a whole.
“Well this show might be ending, but our new adventure is just beginning! We’re starting our own music school!”
I even loved the way the author ended this comic. The author really added that life lesson of”living in the now instead of the future” wisdom. Out of this whole book, this stuck out to me the most because it’s such great wisdom that isn’t too often acted out or even thought about in the world today. It felt like a nice reminder and refresher to stop and smell the flowers , to just take in everything that happening right now instead of having your mind far too ahead to see what’s in front of the face. It was such a great and sweet way to end this comic.
Unfortunately, even with all these there were a lot of things I had issues with and things that made it really hard to love this graphic novel as a whole. As a fan of the original comics and being familiar with how a lot of them played out, this comic definitely felt it was lacking or habits that were hard to get into.
My biggest issue I had with this comic was the plot. Most Archie comics were always plot driven or had a story-line to it. However, there was no real plot to this graphic novel. The beginning starts off strong, but that’s where it ends. After the whole “what if Archie was married” concept into the graphic novel (which wasn’t bad at first), but the author took into into a whole spin of “what if Archie was married to X” plots. At this point, it became super easy to lose interest in it and to become detached from anything happening to the characters. As I said previously, the ending was sweet and ended with some wisdom, but outside of the first chapter and the last two pages of the ending, everything in the entire middle was lacking.
Also, the way this cover is design definitely gives off the wrong impression. I had originally picked up this comic thinking this was going to be a romantic backstory of how Valerie and Archie got into a relationship, how they fell in love, etc…, but this isn’t the case. Even the synopsis is very vague and implies how their relationship came to be. However, the contents of this graphic novel aren’t based off a backstory. It starts out like it’s building to a backstory, but the actual “story-line” doesn’t lead into any history between Archie and Val.
Another issue I had with this comic was the way Veronica was portrayed. While in past comics she has never been a true saint, her personality was never taken to a point where she was being a terrible person, treating everyone horribly, and her nearly disposing of the engagement ring. The author made her super toxic to the point of readers who are fans of her would turn away because of how much she was cast in a negative light. All of this whole “she a the villain of the story” was a complete turn off. The author not only did this with Veronica, but also two other characters who ever really had the “villain” personality archetype. This was a major turn off that was so cringey and almost too hard to read through.
“So make the most of this day ad make it extraordinary!”
Overall, there were elements in this story that I loved and adored. As much as I liked the family dynamic, seeing the couples, the bonus sketches in the back, and the small cameo with Sabrina, all of these things weren’t enough to make me love this comic. Too many things fell short for me and let the taste of wanting more or something lacking. I probably should have read a summary or something because I honestly thought this was a book about how their relationship started, not a hypothetical story about their marriage. As a fan of the original Archie comics, this was definitely a sour note compared to the graphic novels I used to read once upon a time.