Archie #635

While on a recent outing to the comic shop Cards, Comics and Collectibles in Reisterstown, Maryland, I picked up Archie #635. It’s been a few years since I’ve read an actual ‘Archie’ comic. Over the past few years however, the Archie of my youth has evolved into a more complex universe that tackles real world problems in a way that children can comprehend and understand. The story is written by Alex Segura, who does a fantastic job of connecting these timeless characters with real world problems. Accompanying him is the very talented Gisele Lagace on pencils, who gives these characters a slight manga twist.

In this issue the occupy protests have fallen into Riverdale. Led by an Andy Martinez, the 99% are protesting the 1% of Riverdale (which apparently consists of only three people; Veronica, her father, and Reggie). Caught in the middle is Archie. While he certainly is a 99% he doesn’t necessarily agree or see eye to eye with the protests. The gang does have a few things to say. Betty mentions that her mother had to pick up a second job. Reggie says he doesn’t care, that his mind of more concerned with what luxury car he’s taking this weekend. Kevin calls him lucky and Veronica says luck has no part in being successful. Her father built his fortune on his own. Things start to get heated until Mr. Weatherbee informs everyone they are late for class, but they can pick up this conversation during detention.

The next day Archie comes across the protesters again. This time his friends have joined in as well. Kevin, Betty and Jughead all urge him to join, but Archie is still not convinced that protesting is the right thing to do. Everything starts to heat up when the media appears, followed by the 1%. Mr. Lodge gets into an argument with the leader, the mayor shuts the protest down, and someone almost gets arrested! However, this is an Archie comic, so there is a happy ending.

While the story is great, it also gives us new insights into many characters. We learn that Mrs. Cooper had to get a second job. Jughead may or may not have been in jail (since he’s “heard” the food is bad) and that Veronica needs to grow thicker skin (she’s also used to dating guys who have no money or a car). We also see that Mr. Lodge can be reasonable. In the end Kevin sums up what’s been going on in this comic and the Archie universe as a whole best:

“Riverdale’s always been about more than the one percent or the 99 percent–It’s about the 100 percent! It’s a safe place where everyone is welcome!”

Indeed it is, Kevin!

-Lauren

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