Story: Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn
Art: Ray-Anthony Height
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letterer: Jack Morelli
What They Say:
Archie’s making a big splash on the radio waves! But that’s nothing compared to his television debut. Archie’s star is rising quickly—but how does everyone else in his life feel about it?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Archie 1955 series is playing out pretty much as one might suspect as it’s working on every familiar trope from film and reality over the years. Waid and Augustyn are giving it the right color with it being an Archie book and color does factor into it well, which is welcome to see covered. We’ve seen the story before in the much older books but it was as basic as it could be. Sadly, this issue didn’t have the return of Tom Grummett on the artwork and we had Ray-Anthony Height for it. Height put in a solid job to be sure but there’s definitely differences from what Grummett was doing and I really dislike when a miniseries can’t maintain an artist for the full run as it just feels like poor planning, barring real world emergencies that pull the artist away.
With Archie and the Rivermen making their leap to TV after being scooped up on the radio quickly, it goes over about as well as you can imagine. Archie is capturing the imagination of many and all the fans are lining up behind him because he’s the voice and visual for it all. That’s not sitting well with the others, Reggie in particular, as they’re getting increasingly lost. It’s a familiar story but neither of them actually do anything to push back on it and Archie is somewhat oblivious because of the blinding lights in his eyes. Things are only going to get worse in this regard as well as he gets called up for a film at the end of the issue as Lodge is working as much as he can to make whatever he can while the golden goose is laying. But each of these things serves to put more distance between him and his friends and the money rolling in is going to do much the same, though to his credit Archie does his best to remain as grounded as possible.
We see that after the radio performance where he meets Kid Diamond that lavishes some earned praise to him and Archie just wants to perform with him since he admires him so much. But the racial issues that Archie is still oblivious to is going to nix that. He also continues to do right by Earl by giving him a check for what he’s using of his but it’s coming from him directly as Lodge is weaseling out of it like a manager like him would. That doesn’t sit well with Earl but at the same time he’s going to ensure that he gets something out of this. The real issue that Archie is facing is just the changes to his public life. Boyfriends are angry at him as their girlfriends are leaving them for the potential shot with Archie – one even broke up a marriage – and you get some like Reggie that lets him take a few hits first. Betty does her best to defend him but she just sees him slipping further and further away. It’s all familiar but well-executed in a fast-moving way.
Though everything is playing out exactly as you’d think it would, following many a tale of the same from the music industry, the team here executes it well by using the Archie personalities. There’s a lot to like in seeing the various reactions to what’s going on and how they handle it and how Archie handles the increasing fame. He wants to believe he’s grounded and that his friends and bandmates will make sure it happens, but they’re dealing with their own struggles and that just leaves him more untethered than he realizes. It’s a good book here and while I’m disappointed about the artistic switch, Height does a solid job here though not trying to capture what Grummett did with the first two issues.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: Archie Comics
Release Date: December 4th, 2019