Story by: Mark Waid
Art by: Fiona Staples
Coloring by: Andre Szymanowicz with Jen Vaughn
Lettering by: Jack Morelli
Published by. Archie Comics
Let's all welcome Ms. Veronica Lodge to Riverdale, everyone. She's the new girl in town with more money than God and she definitely knows it. This week Mark Waid and Fiona Staples continue their take on the "All New" Archie and it's worth the read. Veronica didn't do anything but chuckle in issue #2. Using Veronica and the Lodge family sparsely up until now, has been fantastic storytelling by Waid.
That all changes in issue #3 as Waid formally introduces Veronica to Archie and the rest of Riverdale and within the first page we can see just how much Archie has become smitten with her. Luckily for Archie, ol' Jughead always has his back as was the case in issue #1, and saves him from a near death encounter with the Lodge's town car. Jughead's story arc for the rest of the issue involves convincing Betty that Archie needs their help. In fact, one whole scene involves some perfectly paced panel work juxtaposed with text messages between Jughead and Betty, reminding readers that it's 2015. It's clear from the beginning that Jughead dislikes this new girl who's taken over his pal's heart. There are a couple moments between the two that are antagonistic and really lays the ground work for some things to come. "Hey Princess," Jughead says, "His name is Archie."
Waid portrays Veronica as some kind of Hilton or Kardashian. Jughead even calls her "the Kardashian Clone." She's never been to public school before and because Archie destroyed the foundation of the Lodge's soon to be mansion, he feels obligated to acclimate her to her new school be her lapdog. She makes him hold her purse while she uses the restroom and overall takes advantage of his friendliness. She's very superficial and knows that she has "Archiekins" wrapped around her pretty fingers.
Although it can be argued that she's not the greatest person in Riverdale, we do get a very brief moment of humanity that seeps through Veronica. As this is her first day in public school, she's not accustomed to the cafeteria food and after one bite, yaks it up. All. Over. Her. Designer. Dress. Enter Betty. Betty's interaction with Veronica is also brief, but it's a sweet moment which quickly turns sour. She's actually very kind to Veronica, unaware of the romantic rivalry that is surely to come. Offering up some extra clothing backfires and after her small slip up, Veronica once more shows her true colors by reminding Betty of how high the Lodge pedestal stands and laughs in her face. This gives Betty the fuel she needs to help Jughead in his endeavor to stop the evil that is Veronica Lodge.
Enough about the story, let's dive into the art. Fiona Staples is well known for drawing sci-fi/fantasy creatures in Saga, where she also does her own colors. I find it incredibly refreshing to see Fiona Staples draw real people and situations not involving male dragons pleasuring themselves or the horrendous giant genitalia of an alien cyclops. She's fantastic at showing people's emotions and facial expressions. Jughead's disgust is clear when "Ronnie" mistreats Archie, and Archie's expression is humorously enamored whenever Veronica asks something of him. Again, the pacing works well and I like the chapter format Waid uses to break up the acts. I will say, despite the great pencils and inks by Staples, I much rather prefer that she colors her own work. I'm not saying that Andre Szymanowicz and Jen Vaughn's colors are bad at all, in fact I love the way the art team colors Veronica. She has a certain glow about her, she's glamorous and I can't help but feel like that's the intention with the coloring, though her pretty hue quickly vanishes the moment she eats her lunch. While I would prefer Staples to have the freedom she has on Saga, I do appreciate that the art team manages to make the comic feel... well more like an Archie book.
And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the back up story, an original Archie strip that coincidentally features Veronica's first appearance. It's clear that Waid and Co. are big fans of the characters. I think that's what makes this book work so well.
Overall, this was another fun entry into the new world of Archie which Mark Waid and Fiona Staples have crafted. I think it was an excellent decision to leave Veronica out of the series until now. The groundwork for the major players has been laid out and to add Veronica as a catalyst into the mix will surely shake things up. I'm excited to see where this goes and if Archie falls into the clutches of Veronica or if he and Betty can reconcile things. It's classic Archie for a new generation and I think it's great.