This past week saw the debut of Archie Comics’ latest “Dynamic Look” project, a four-part story called The Matchmakers (which may or may not be based on an Archie young adults novel – folks more knowledgable than me in that arena have to help me out), by writer Melanie K. Morgan and artists Joe Staton and Al Milgrom (Milgrom inking Staton).
It’s a marked improvement from the first “Dynamic Look” project.
First off, the question that immediately comes up is, how did Staton and Milgrom do on the art?
Here are two sample pages…
Not great, but a big step up from Steven Butler’s (whose work I normally enjoy) Bratz-esque work on “Bad Boy Trouble.” Staton’s work at least looks normal enough (although it’s amusing to think of a guy with a career spanning four decades being brought in for the “new, dynamic” look. I guess if you’re younger than Stan Goldberg, you’re young at Archie. ;)). He does seem to dig the long sideburns, though, which is kinda funny.
The biggest improvement, though, was Morgan’s script. I thought her work on Bad Boy Trouble was pretty embarrassing, really. Terrible (TERRIBLE) dialogue and a lackluster plot.
Here, I think she improves a good deal by not trying to do too much, just telling a story that would not feel out of place at all in a standard Archie comic book. In the comic, Betty and Veronica feel sorry for Jughead, because he often spends “date nights” all by himself, and since there was a big school picnic coming up where everyone has to couple up, Betty and Veronica decide to try to get Jughead a girlfriend in time for the picnic.
They zoom in on a new character, Sandy Sanchez. The interactions between Jughead and Sandy are nicely handled, and I especially liked how Morgan had Jughead go from specifically stating that he felt different around Sandy, that he was actually relaxed around her, to suddenly being extremely nervous when he realizes there might be something romantic between them.
How this is dealt with in later issues is still up in the air, but for the first issue, at least, Morgan has created a compelling storyline (and a decent amount of laughs, in the various ideas the girls have to try to get Jughead interested in girls, although Betty sorta throwing herself at Jughead was a bit much), and the art is pretty good.
It’s enough to give a slight recommendation.
P.S. There was one really weird thing in the story, though. There is a volley ball game during gym class between Jughead’s team and Reggie’s team. Fine, but in the 4 on 4 game, we never see Reggie’s fourth team member. I get that they didn’t want to use one of the big Archie characters, but they couldn’t throw in some nameless character? Instead, it was awkward that there were a few pages devoted to the game, and yet no depictions of Reggie’s fourth team member. Weird.
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