If you've been following the modern, yet nostalgic revamp of "Archie," you'll be pleased to know Mark Waid and Veronica Fish continue their magic streak with issue #7. Nefarious jerk Reggie Mantle is at it again, and this time he has his hooks in Hiram Lodge, the father of fiery brunette Veronica; luckily, though, it isn't long before he is humbled by the one and only Pop Tate. "Archie" #7 also wraps up this particular plot and sees the reunion between Jughead and Archie after their falling out over Archie's pursuit of Veronica. If this is the first time you've picked up part of the new Archie series, I absolutely recommend re-reading the series from the beginning, as this issue is only one great chapter in a fun run.
Waid firmly establishes Archie's innate moral compass as he tries to make up for his mistakes from the first issue, where he accidentally destroyed Hiram Lodge's mansion as it was being built. At the same time, Waid adds another layer to Veronica's already dynamic character; she displays a rebellious streak and a very touching soft spot for "Archiekins" as the lovers speak through her upstairs bedroom window. Of course, those of us familiar with this red-headed klutz shouldn't be surprised when he catches a glimpse of Betty holding hands with Sayid, becomes distracted with the task at hand and falls from the tree. We also get a surprising exploration of Pop Tate, the omniscient yet sympathetic proprietor of the Choklit Shoppe, as well as Reggie Mantle, bad boy supreme. Kudos to Waid for writing the quote of the year, when Pop aims a searing burn at our leather clad antagonist: "Reggie Mantle is a fifty-dollar haircut on ten-cent head."
Fish delivers on her end as well with a remarkably adept showcase of humor. Her work consistently delivers engaging pages for the audience to enjoy, and her expressions enhance Waid's script. During an amusing sequence at Archie's short-lived job with the local paper, it's her amazing attention to Archie that makes the jokes land. Her work with the script has set the tone with a wonderfully emotional standard throughout the series, without ever being overbearing. It's those trademark angular faces that beg compassion for Reggie and tug on the ol' heartstrings as Archie's wistfully gazes at Betty. Colorists Andre Szymanowicz and Jen Vaughn lend a warm palette to the scenes between Veronica and Archie, making that sunset almost feel real as they discuss their future. Without their bold, colored pages during Archie's attempt at dishonesty or the scenes at the Choklit Shoppe, the story would have fallen flat.
Overall, if you've been enjoying Riverdale's finest in this relaunch, you'll bask in the fun of "Archie" #7. While not the strongest installment, it's engaging. Barring the very quick wrap-up, it definitely deserves a spot on your shelf.