Written by Paul Kupperberg
Art by Pat Kennedy, Tim Kennedy, Jim Amash, Jack Morelli, & Glenn Whitmore
Published by Archie Comics
Release Date: 07/16/2014
This week one of the most anticipated issues of Archie hits comics stands nationwide with LIFE WITH ARCHIE #36. In all probability, there will be more attention focused in on this issue than any other Archie comic in recent memory, not just from fans of the series, but from comic book readers and non-comic readers alike. Many may not be aware that LIFE WITH ARCHIE is set years in the future where Archie and the entire Riverdale gang have finished high school and college, as the book centers on their adult lives. The series has covered a couple of alternate scenarios that includes Archie marrying Veronica Lodge in one, and Betty Cooper in the second. Along the way there have been many different story lines that have led to this particular point, issue 36 does a fantastic job bringing readers up to speed.
Essential to this specific issue is the back story to Kevin Keller, Archie’s gay friend who comes back to Riverdale after suffering an injury while serving in the Middle East. Keller meets, falls in love, and marries Clay Walker, his physical therapist. Clay is shot not too long afterwards, prompting Kevin to become an advocate for more responsible gun laws and eventually running for Senate. Keller campaigns and wins a seat in the Senate, but of course there are some that oppose his ideology. The series has also featured other compelling plots including Riverdale residents dealing with relationships, marriage, careers, pregnancy, children, violence, discrimination, cancer, and death.
Kupperberg does a superb job with laying out the foundation for this end story, starting off the issue with a flashback to Archie’s childhood days with an early look at his impending friendship with Betty and Veronica, before jumping ahead a few decades as we get a vision of what one of the most endeared and oldest teenagers in comics may have looked like on the other side of the spectrum. The story continues along balancing the present time with flashbacks and flash forwards, all while bringing to light the importance and relevance of his many relationships with his peers, teachers, and elders. This all leads to the dramatic and emotional conclusion as Archie is shot and fatally wounded while protecting Keller from a lone gunman.
Since it was first announced back in April the story has garnered much attention and made national headlines, but has not gone without controversy. Some conservative groups are not pleased with the message, alleging that the comic takes aim at those who oppose same-sex marriage and advocate the second amendment. Politics aside, Kupperberg’s writing has never been more relevant than it is here as he scripting a riveting ending to a series that has taught many life lessons along the way. Life with Archie is a beautifully crafted series that has given us characters we can look up to and a code of ethics in which we can live by. The “Death of Archie” arc concludes next month with issue #37.
REVIEW: LIFE WITH ARCHIE #36
Peter Rodriguez (Geek Sushi)
Powerful story relevant to current social and political events.