Issues of trust are the name of the game in both the “Archie Marries Veronica” and “Archie Marries Betty” universes. In the former, Archie and Veronica’s marriage founders again as Veronica suspects Archie might be planning on leaving her. Reggie can’t tell his lawyer who provided the evidence that could clear him of bribery charges and Midge suspects Jughead is just using her financial acumen and has no interest in really marrying her. Over in the Archie/Betty-verse Reggie fears he’s losing Veronica to the slimy Jason Blossom. Veronica fears her father is losing his mind. Chuck and Nancy are losing one another and Archie’s losing students.
Paul Kupperberg’s respect and affection for these characters shines through his scripts. While he’s putting most of them through the wringer, he’s still having them to act in character and growing them as individuals. Jughead’s meltdown is completely believable, as is Midge’s temper tantrum. While it’s not often brought up, she’s always been portrayed as having a short fuse. In that respect she isn’t that different from Moose, excuse me, Duke, who continues to develop as a character. Whether he’s mayor or a janitor, this is a man trying to control his temper and live up to his responsibilities. Chuck’s jealousy of Nancy is a neat reversal on their usual relationship. She’s always been the one upset and angry that his life is devoted to cartooning. Kupperberg puts the shoe on the other foot here and I really look forward to seeing where he’s going to take this.
My favorite, my absolute favorite part of the issue, though, is Kupperberg’s hints of what’s going on with Mr. Lodge! Yes, it looks likes we are finally going to find out why Mr. Lodge is behaving so wickedly. While not much is explained, Kupperberg does tie it in with a character’s who has been missing since issue one and suggests that the wily Fred Mirth, Ethel’s suitor, has something to do with it, too. This is a great twist that I can’t wait to see play out.
As always the art teams do a fantastic job. Norm Breyfogle and Joe Rubinstein’s interpretation of Jughead is especially attractive this issue, while Pat and Tim Kennedy, Bob Smith, and Glenn Whitmore do some beautiful work with silhouettes in the second feature.
Sabrina the teenage witch headlines the majority of the issue’s special features, most of which focus on the latest and last Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. I especially enjoyed the Sabrina v. Harry Potter page and the one ranking the male stars of supernatural movies and TV shows. The latter is sure to create some lively discussion among readers who are also Twilight fans.
Filled with surprises and magic, Life with Archie: The Married Life #10 is an issue readers won’t want to miss.