In general, Archie stories are marked by their general brevity. This is because the escapades that Archie and the gang get into tend to be the sort of things that wrap themselves up quickly. The characters are so well-defined by now that even eleven pages often feels like a full story, as so much of the character work comes completed before the writer has even begun the story. You don’t have to explain why Betty and Veronica are fighting over Archie – it is just a conceit accepted by nearly anyone who picks up an Archie story. Thus, a typical Archie story has a quick hook that resolves itself quickly. This is not a shot at those stories, as I absolutely adore Craig Boldman’s work for Archie and his stories tend to be in the realm of the six-pager. Coming up with four good six-page stories in a single issue is a tremendous feat in my book. At the same time, though, it is also impressive to come up with a plot hook that can sustain a full-sized issue. I’ve been meaning to give Tom DeFalco’s recent work on Archie a bit of a shout out, as he has done some strong full-length issues recently. However, today I’ll take a look at the latest issue of Archie, where Ales Segura puts a fun twist on the classic “guy making dates with two girls on the same night” plot. In Archie #660, with art by Jeff Shultz and Rick Koslowsksi, Segura goes for double the laughs with Archie making a date with FOUR girls in a single night!
Segura lays out the foundation of the issue’s plot very quickly into the issue…
So that’s the set-up – Reggie, just being the type of fellow who just wants to watch the world burn, is willing to fund Archie’s attempt for the heck of it.
But what makes the story work is not necessarily the absurdity of trying to date four different girls at once, but rather how close Archie comes to pulling it off, all thanks to the help of his best bud, Jughead, who he promises a burger, fries and shake a day if he helps Archie succeed. The burger-driven Jughead turns into a calculating whirlwind of deception and it all somehow sort of makes sense. It’s a really well-told attempt by Segura.
Shultz and Koslowski are one of my favorite Archie art teams. While clearly favoring an economical panel design, they never make it feel like you’re missing out on backgrounds. Meanwhile, Shultz is one of the stronger Archie artists when it comes to reaction shots, which are really the bread and butter of a book like Archie, which relies so much on the reactions of the various characters to the madcap goings on in the stories. And when he is given a little more room to experiment on the covers, Shultz is just extremely clever. He’s on quite a roll of strong covers in the last year or so.
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