Life With Riley-“Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent’

After some months of having these comics sitting on my desk, I finally sat down and read them. I’m not sure what took me so long, but reading all four issues of this mini series in one sitting was a brilliant idea.

This series is best summed up as ‘what if the Archie comics universe was more realistic, and Archie decided to one day kill Veronica?’ because that’s what it is. Riley Richards is a broken man living in the big city with his heiress wife, Felix Doolittle. He has all but left behind his old life in his small town, until his mother calls him up telling him his father has stomach cancer. Riley leaves the city just in time to say goodbye to his father, and that’s when everything starts to spiral out of control. His best friend Freakout has been sober for one year, but with the “help” of Riley quickly goes back to his old ways. The girl next door, Lizzie Gordon, is suddenly back in the picture. As for Felix, she’s having an affair with Riley’s rival Teddy, and Riley knows it. Wanting an escape to get back to his old “perfect” life, Riley creates an imperfect plan to murder Felix, and frame Teddy while doing so.

The series is nothing short of brilliant. Riley is a piece of shit, Felix is a spoiled brat, and Lizzie doesn’t know any better. Freakout is a sad excuse for a human being, and the only one who really suffers here is Teddy. Perhaps this is the most realistic portrayal of Archie anyone will ever see. This is how Riverdale is, or should be, if Archie wasn’t a comic aimed at kids. The art switches from gritty to cartoony without warning. It works. The writing is fantastic, and really exploits all of the negative traits the Archie cast has. This is a comic you need to read, that’s all you really need to know.

‘Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent’ is by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.

-Lauren

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