In our continued review of the Archie relaunch, we have issue number 4 by Mark Waid and new artist, Annie Wu. Upfront, I have to say I was not a big fan of the artwork with Annie Wu. Her pencils are not nearly as clean as the previous artist, but that would be me nitpicking.
Finally this issue reveals the #lipstickincident. Its been hinted at since issue #1 as to why Archie and Betty are no longer the "It" couple at Riverdale High! The issue starts off with Jughead and Archie playing in Archie's garage and of course Archie being the klutz, something happens. As he is regrouping himself, Jughead offers him a Goo-Bar and this makes Archie pause and walk off.
Archie breaks the 4th wall and begins to narrate to us why the Goo-Bar is a bad reminder of the worst day of his teenage life. He begins with the recap of young love blooming in Riverdale. Archie and Betty have been best friend since they were kids and now are each others first love. This plays out wonderfully in the panels. Teenage, high school puppy love and the artwork and splash pages are fantastic.
On one of these teenage dream dates, the young lovers share a Goo-Bar and somehow that bar is infected with ants and this sends Betty rushing in a panic to the public bathroom. There she runs into Riverdale gossip and fashion hound, Sheila Wu. They tell Betty she needs a make over and invite her over to change everything about her( clothes, make up, and even her name "Lizzy".) For some reason, Betty consents to the make over before her next date with Archie and we see all the pedis and plucking and combing to turn our sweet Betty Cooper into something she is not.
When Archie comes to pick her up.... I love the fact that he does not have the old, red jalopy, he sees the New Betty and does not know how to react. Betty looks hot, but not in that tomboy kinda hot. Betty is smoking hot in a red dress and Archie is blown away- but not in a good way.
Their date is awkward and they move throughout not really knowing what to say to one another. They go to eat and to a movie with hardly anything in terms of convo. Finally the dam breaks and Archie admits he does not like the New Betty. He liked Old Betty and that sends Betty over the edge and she swipes at Archie with her lipstick- hence the #lipstickincident.
The book follows Archie after the #lipstickincident as he tries to reconnect with Betty... all via text- never a phone call. That is such an updated version of kids/adults today! Archie comes back and breaks the 4th wall to let us know that is what happened and as he heads back to the garage to link up with Jughead, he finds that Juggy is gone but Veronica is there and she would love to have Archie play her a song. To which he happily obliges. The air lifts Archie's tune, "Veronica" to the ears of Betty at her home and this infuriates her. She and Jughead have decided that Archie needs to be rescued from that she-devil Veronica and they could only think of one vile and deceitful person to make that happen..... Reggie Mantle.
Big fan of this issue and finally the introduction of Reggie. He is such a vital piece to the friendship puzzle in Riverdale and of course he would be involved somehow/someway in something to screw with Archie and Veronica. The fact that Betty and Jughead seek him out only adds to the intrigue.
Great book and a continued awesome read in this relaunch!