I just finished reading LIFE WITH ARCHIE. It's a split title. Each half explores how life might have turned out differently had he married Veronica or had he married Betty. It's fairly unique for an Archie Comics book. It's magazine formatted. It's serialized. The main characters are in their mid-twenties. And while there is humor, there are also difficulties: marital strife, cancer, death, politics, etc.
I thought I should check in with my favorite Archie Comics title and share some of the aspects of issue 31 that interested me most:
* Senator Kevin Keller: Several issues ago, Dr. Clay Walker (Kevin Keller's husband) got shot while jogging. It was some stupid random shooting. He survived, but has spent the subsequent issues healing himself. Meanwhile, Kevin decided to do something about out-of-control societal gun violence and ran for Congress. And he won!
Now he's leaving for Washington DC and Clay is returning to work at the local medical clinic. This is one of his first patients upon returning to work:
This guy Ruben showed up at the clinic to check out Clay and obviously took off within seconds. Kind of creepy. What's more creepy is this scene from last issue:
It appears that Ruben is the shadowy gun-wielder from LIFE WITH ARCHIE #30. But who's he gunning for? Kevin or anyone connected to Kevin? Does it have to do with Kevin's gun control policies or is Ruben connected to the recent mass shooting at Riverdale's mall?
* Gun Control Discussions: Skipping over to the "Archie Marries Betty" universe, we are treated to ongoing discussions about the politics of gun ownership, gun control, and responsible back-ground checks. Everyone is talking about it. There's Archie, Jughead, and Ambrose:
And there's Kevin and Reggie:
Kevin and Reggie actually delve into Kevin's thoughts on responsible gun ownership and public policy quite a lot in this issue. Who knew that we'd hear some much about the politics of gun violence in an Archie Comics comic book?
* Jellybean: LIFE WITH ARCHIE #31 wasn't all about gun politics. Last issue, Jellybean learned that her boyfriend Davey was burglarizing all of the local businesses and had saved Jughead's diner for last. And he tried recruiting Jellybean for this final task. She ratted him out to the police and Davey found himself arrested. Now she's being cheered on by the adults in her life while feeling really rotted about having to betray the man she loves:
It's interesting that Jellybean ends up confiding to Midge. Let's face it. Jellybean was in an emotionally abusive -- at least exploitative -- relationship with Davey. After years of dating Moose Mason, Midge knows all about controlling and emotionally manipulative boyfriends!
I really like LIFE WITH ARCHIE's Jellybean. If Archie Comics ever did a LWA spin-off comic book, they'd be crazy to ignore Jellybean's potential.
* Betty and Archie on the rocks?: Lastly, things aren't looking too good these days for Archie and Betty. Betty is drowning herself in work and Archie's growing increasingly dissatisfied. The sad part is that Betty is completely oblivious to this problem.
Archie spends the entire "Archie Marries Betty" storyline moping around and feeling sorry for himself. He ends up going by himself to a movie: "Mighty Crusaders"! These guys look familiar!:
More seriously, we are reintroduced in this issue to the vampish Bella Beazley. She unsuccessfully tried seducing Archie a year or so ago. She wasn't very successful, but that was before Archie began feeling neglected by his wife. Now she's focused her attention on him and he's a bit more receptive to her attentions these days! By the way, check out that wedding ring!:
I'm curious if Archie and Betty will get their marriage back on-track soon. Archie and Veronica nearly saw their own marriage destroyed a while back and they managed to salvage things. But there wasn't any adultery at that time. I'm not saying that Archie will actually cheat on Betty, but he seems much more ambivalent about the state of his relationship with Betty right now than he did back when Veronica left him in 2011!