This week's issue of Archie caught a few eyes when it was solicited a couple of months back for the cover...
But what about the story within?
First off, I don't know if you noticed, but with this month (I think actually with this very issue) Archie Comics have made the jump to $2.99, but along with the price increase they've also DRAMATICALLY improved the paper quality.
Typically, an issue of Archie has three-four stories, but since #600, Archie has had full-length tales, and writer Dan Parent (who is also a major artist for Archie, writing and drawing a number of comics, mostly Veronica ones - but he has done other, particularly if it is a media tie-in) writes the full-length story in an intriguing fashion - he makes it almost FEEL like two separate stories (in the same overall arc), with the first one being a cute little story about how Alexander Cabot, manager of Josie and the Pussycats, tries to turn a co-headlining tour with the Archies and the Pussycats into a Pussycats tour with the Archies opening for them.
That was a cute little tale, but the "second story" is a lot stronger, and it is the story that revolves around the above cover.
The Archies and the Pussycats get together to write some songs, and Archie and Valerie end up spending a LOT of time working together on a song, and Parent really does a great job capturing the very realistic effect that writing a deeply romantic song might have on two teenagers. Here, artist Bill Galvan (and inker Rich Koslowski) aid Parent, as they really help to sequentially depict the deepening attraction between the two.
There's an especially strong sequence where they take a pizza break and Valerie belches - very cute.
And then there is dramatic kiss at the end - very much out of a romantic comedy, but handled well.
Two members of two different bands getting romantically involved has some intriguing story potential, and from the promos for the next part of the story, Parent appears prepared to wring all the drama out of the concept that he can.