First off, I didn’t know that we were getting a new Little Archie story, and I especially didn’t know it was going to be drawn by the great Fernando Ruiz. If I had been aware of this it simply would have led to sleepless nights and overwhelming anticipation, so it’s all for the best that I was in the dark.
Secondly, I didn’t know that Spotty was going to be taking center stage. Spotty! That loveable and tragically doomed member of the Riverdale community. He doesn’t get anywhere near enough play, so it’s nice to see him getting some much deserved love. Same goes for Caramel, Betty’s cat. Caramel is aloof and elusive (you know, on account of being a cat), so it’s nice to see her break out of her shell and spend some time being social. Go Caramel!
Angelo Decesare’s charming and funny story highlights the third nice surprise with this issue: Archie isn’t all about the splashy events and big announcements.
This is a relief. As more and more ‘big stories’ get announced (Dilton Vs. Mark Zuckerberg anyone?) it is really heartening to see that Archie is still putting out well-written, entertaining comics that stand on their own. You don’t need to have read any other Archie comics to enjoy this issue, and you don’t have to read any more to get the whole story.
This may seem like a small thing but it isn’t. Just ask ‘Fear Itself’ (in which the Black Lanterns get hammers this time around) or ‘Flashpoint’ (in which the DC heroes visit the House of M). It’s rare for a company to put the time and energy into crafting a really good single issue that isn’t tied-in or crossing-over with something else.
We also get Sabrina, Salem and Aunties Hilda and Zelda which is cause for celebration. The Spellman’s (Spellmen?) need to start spending more time in Riverdale, as far as I’m concerned.
Archie and Friends #154 is proof positive that Archie Comics, while they are in the middle of a re-creation and revitalization, have not forgotten the most important part of their audience: Young kids who are going to learn to love reading by getting hooked on Archie.
Kudos as well for the ‘Pep Talks’ letters page, and especially for having the first letter be anti-Kevin Keller. Seriously, I was impressed. And ‘Archie’s’ response was really good too.
It’s also nice to see Chuck being included in a Little Archie story, and represents a significant status-play on Chuck’s part. Will it be enough to overcome Dilton’s starring turn in World of Archie Double Digest #6. Only time will tell, but it is clear that with the turmoil in the ranks that Kevin Keller’s success has created a lot of characters are getting ready for their big play.