Open Mike Night - Archie #666

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By Mike Maillaro and Mike Weaver

This week, we say a fond farewell to Archie as we look forward to next month's relaunch!


Archie #666

Written by: Tom DeFalco
Penciled by: Dan Parent, Fernando Ruiz,  Tim Kennedy, and Pat Kennedy
Inked by: Rick Koslowski
Colored by: Glenn Whitmore
Lettered by: Jack Morelli
Cover by: Dan Parent

Published by: Archie
Cover Price: $3.99

Maillaro:  In many ways, I feel the same way about the end of Archie as I did about the end of David Letterman’s run on television.  I wasn’t someone who bought Archie every month, but I would stop in every now and then when something interesting was going on, and I always enjoyed the book.  So, it’s going to be kind of weird that Archie (at least in it’s classic form) won’t be around any more.  Next month, Archie will be getting a huge reboot with Mark Waid and Fiona Staples at the helm.

This issue marked the end of one of the longest running comic series in history and served as a fond farewell to Archie and his friends.

Weaver: It’s kind of hard to think about a world without the classic Archie comic.  It’s been a fixture in supermarket checkout lines for half past forever.  It has a huge pop culture presence, everyone knows about Betty and Veronica, for instance.  Everyone pictures it as being quintessential 50’s Americana, but as we’ve pointed out in the past, Archie hasn’t been afraid to address modern social issues.  It’s an interesting study in contradictions, and one of the biggest ones took center stage here.

Archie Andrews is beloved by everyone in Riverdale, and yet...his success rating isn’t very high.  He’s a guy who always means well and wants to do the right thing, but the execution is usually less than desired.  Which brings us to the crux of this issue: Can Riverdale just keep giving Archie chance after chance which he’ll continue to mess up, or is enough enough, and he needs to be expelled?

Maillaro: Yeah, I thought this issue really felt like the series finale of a classic sitcom.  You get your clips of old episodes.  You get the mock tension of “WILL ARCHIE BE EXPELLED?” and you get the perfect resolution of friends and foes alike coming together in the end to help out.   With the tag at the end of “oh look, Archie screwed up again...that scamp!”

All the characters got a moment, no matter how brief.  Actually my favorite line in the book was Moose’s: “Hey, maybe I had to straighten him out every once in a while [for hitting on Midge] but Riverdale High wouldn’t be the same without Archie.”  

I think the tone and feel of this issue was just about perfect.  It really felt like any other Archie comic I’ve read over the years.  Nostalgic, entertaining, and had a good heart to it.  

Weaver: It was definitely a classic Archie comic, pretty much textbook classic Archie.  I was a little surprised that they didn’t try to backdoor pilot into the relaunch as so many other “Last Issue Before Reinvention” issues do, but ultimately, I think that was the right choice.  I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t a bigger story, but at the same time, Archie isn’t really a big story comic, and it was more important to stick everyone in there.

To me, the best character moment was at the teacher conference, when Mrs. Weatherbee asks if anyone who likes Archie can help out.  Even the Man Who’s Holding Him Down helps Archie out in the end.  Even Mr. Lodge can’t resist that lovable scamp.  To see everyone come together, and pretty much literally everyone, that was as good a send-off as Archie could get.

Maillaro: I did have one major complaint though..and it’s about the cover.  The standard cover for this book just features Archie and some of the “minor” characters.  If you wanted Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Jughead, or Kevin Keller, they each had their own cover.  They should have done a deluxe cover like X-Men #1 did with a massive gatefold with all six covers together.  It might sound like a petty thing, but it really bugged me that this was the last classic Archie comic...and we couldn’t even get a shot of the gang together.

Actually, that does leave me with a big question for you.  Does this change last?   It sort of seems like Archie Comics is putting all their eggs in one basket here, and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

Weaver: I think it’s the right basket to put your eggs in at this time.  Most people felt Archie had become irrelevant, even when it was doing relevant things like having a plot about gay marriage or making a book to exploit the current zombie craze.  Archie suffers from the perception of it being a watered down 50’s style comic that has 665 issues of basically the same thing.  Yeah, you see the main Jughead or Archie or Betty and Veronica comics everywhere, but do you see people buying them?  I don’t.  People will come out of the woodwork claiming to be die hard long time Archie fans, but I’m not buying it.

I hate the alternate cover craze, but I disagree with you.  I think that major gatefolds, while cool, are also sort of annoying to unfold and impossible to display, plus it adds to the price of the issue.  Last issue of Archie deserves alternates.

Maillaro:  One thing that was odd about this issue is that even though it was basically just the length of a normal comic, they used four different artists, one for each “chapter.”  It didn’t detract from the comic at all, since they all used the typical Archie style and unless you really look for it, you can’t tell the difference.  I wonder if part of the “problem” (if you can call it a problem) is the entire issue had the same inker, colorist, and letterer.  

From what I read online, it looks like they choose “notable” Archie artists from the past...which I guess is a good way to say goodbye to the series, but at the same time, since they all basically drew the same way, it didn’t really make the book all that distinctive.

Weaver: I sound like a jerk, but I’m not really sure there is such a thing as a notable Archie artist.  Every issue intentionally looks more or less the same and has for as long as I can remember.  There’s not a lot of variety, as witnessed by the fact you couldn’t even tell there were multiple artists.  It’s a good shout out to the guys that have helped them out, but those guys are pretty anonymous.  Talented, but anonymous.

I’ve had a hard time mentally scoring this thing.  On the one hand, I was hoping for more than your typical Archie story, and I guess there’s some elements of that here what with EVERYONE showing up, but it was still just one more episode of the same thing.  Then I think about sitcoms that experimented in their last episode and how much hate people who didn’t even watch the show feel about that...I’m thinking Roseanne and Seinfeld principally here.  They did what they had to do, ended it relatively safe but still fulfilling.  I’m giving it a pair of 4’s.

Maillaro:  Yeah, I will agree with those scores.  I enjoyed this issue for what it was.  It is not the best comic ever, but it was still a very satisfying end to Archie’s run.  And I am looking forward to the relaunch.  It is cool to see A List talent taking over here.  Not knocking the guys who have done Archie, but I would get excited for any book with Waid and Staples on it.


Weaver: What’s on tap for next week?  Not Secret Wars, I’ll tell you that much.

Maillaro:  I have an odd suggestion.  Starfire.  The preview DC sent out a few weeks ago was surprisingly good.  

Weaver: I’m for Starfire.  Probably best to stick with one issue a week for now, but if my schedule opens up, I’ll find a twofer.

Maillaro:  Fair enough.  Probably New Teen Titans....I already have the early issues in Comixology.


Final Scores

 

Maillaro – Story

Weaver – Story

Maillaro – Art

Weaver – Art

Archie #666

4

4

4

4

 

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0