Sunday, November 29, 2015

#LipstickIncident Explained in ARCHIE #4!

One of the biggest mysteries of the Archie Relaunch has been the super-secret "lipstick incident" that led to the break-up of Riverdale High's power couple, Archie and Betty. Everyone knew about it, but nobody actually knew anything about it. They just knew that the Archie and Betty were no longer a couple and that it was because of the #LipstickIncident. Judging from the reactions, it was very traumatic for everyone in Riverdale!

ARCHIE #4 was published this week and we finally learned the story behind the #LipstickIncident. I feared that it had everything to do about Archie and other girls. I just read the story and learned that I was both completely right and completely wrong at the same time!

But first...

This blog entry contains spoilers. If you don't want to know what happens in ARCHIE #4 or about the #LipstickIncident, then stop reading now. You have been warned.

Back to the show...

#LipstickIncident was all about Betty and Archie struggling with the idea of change. They have known each other for all of their lives. They are very comfortable with each other. They want everything to stay as it's always been. But they are both high school students now. They aren't kids. They aren't even junior high kids. They are growing and maturing and turning into adults. How will they adjust when one of them steps out of the familiar and tries something new?

That's what Betty does -- and that's where Archie fails. Betty is a tomboy. I mean, she's a very pretty tomboy. But she's always been a tomboy. Until her new friends get all excited about a movie date and talk her into getting a makeover.

She is uncomfortable with her new look. Archie is also. To top things off, he makes things worse by saying that she looks weird and wonders where the old Betty is. Which is obviously the wrong thing to say. But he's a dumb kid and doesn't know any better. She storms off and doesn't return any of his texts. And Archie slowly realizes that it's over.

And that is the #LipstickIncident. Given time (and Jughead's secret string-pulling), Archie and Betty probably would have eventually kissed and made up. But then Veronica Lodge arrived and now it might be too late.

Except that Archie still misses Betty -- even while panting after Veronica!

But wait! There was one element of this story that seemed off to me. Everyone was freaking in ARCHIE #1 when Archie and Betty broke up. The biggest fretters in that issue were Kevin Keller, Sheila Wu, and Maria Rodriguez. Except in this issue -- which arguably closely leads into issue #1 -- Sheila and Maria viewed Betty with a fair amount of contempt. I have a hard time imagining that this pair cared too much about the break-up.

ARCHIE #4 was written by Mark Waid, with art by Annie Wu, colors by Andre Szymanowicz & Jen Vaughn, and letters by Jack Morelli.

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