Review: Life With Archie #36

LifeWithArchie_36_maltLIFE WITH ARCHIE #36
Script: Paul Kupperberg
Art: Pat & Tim Kennedy, Jim Amash, Jack Morelli, Glenn Whitmore
Variant Cover A: Mike Allred
Variant Cover B: Francesco Francavilla
Variant Cover C: Adam Hughes
Variant Cover D: Ramón Pérez
Variant Cover E: Fiona Staples
On Sale: 7/16

FC • 48 pages • $4.99 

History is in the making in this epic finale to the acclaimed series LIFE WITH ARCHIE, as America’s most beloved character makes the ultimate sacrifice to save a friend. The unthinkable happens: Archie Andrews dies! Fans will experience an epic tale of Archie’s future sure to make headlines, generate discussion and stand as one of the most-talked about Archie stories of all time. Do not miss this game-changing tale of love, friendship and true heroism.

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REVIEW:

This issue has gotten a lot of mainstream attention, which is good, considering the previous issue of this comic only sold a little over 2,00 copies. I have to assume that the majority of people that pick up this issue will do so without having read the most recent issues, if not the entire series. There is a two page synopsis of the story so far which details two stories, one with Archie marrying Betty and one with Archie marrying Veronica. It’s clear that there are points where the stories overlap, but I don’t think that it’s needed to know that there was a storyline with a Super-Collider and all of the various tangential relationships and how they progressed in each universe. I nearly stopped reading with the synopsis, but kept going out of curiosity over how exactly the story would play out and the political message would be conveyed.

We get numerous pages of Archie running through Riverdale, thinking about his past and his future and never revealing which woman Archie is married to. I got the sense half way through that this is one of those places where the universes overlap so what I was viewing existed in both universes. As the story plays through, Kupperberg tries to use misdirection, finally revealing a killer that I feel like I should know, but don’t. Archie’s death is poignant, selfless and ends with him telling his wife (both of them) that he’s always loved her. That scene is written well. Getting there is just a little frustrating. I find myself wishing that the book wasn’t trying to placate fans of both Betty and Veronica and instead, had just committed to one storyline.

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The art has a couple of tricky page layouts. I have a lot of experience and education around it, and once, I got lost. Fortunately, as the story progresses, those layouts become more straight forward. Archie tends to have a house style that is very welcoming to new readers, but never lends itself well to gradient coloring. I think the story gets better served by cut colors, such as the page where Archie is shot.

Is this a buy? Perhaps. It’s definitely a browse, and I think that it’s worth buying digitally, if you can get it for $1.99 or less. The $4.99 price tag is hefty, but we’re definitely approaching the age of the $5.00 comic, so we better stop balking at that price point. I think you should pick it up in the shop and look it over, just to see if it’s the type of thing that you want to try to go back and read. Personally, I am intrigued with the idea of the adult Riverdale gang, and maybe, just maybe, the dual universe story won’t be as jarring as the recap makes it seem.