Saturday, May 12, 2012

Archie: The Married Life Review (with photos)

Archie: The Married Life is a 24-part limited series written by Paul Kupperberg and penciled by Norm Breyfogle and inked by Andrew Pepoy and Joe Rubenstein. The series delves deeper into the "What If?" storyline written earlier by Michael Uslan and drawn by long-time Archie artist Stan Goldberg entitled "Archie: Will You Marry Me?", where Archie Andrews was married to either the rich and beautiful Veronica Lodge and the sweet and down-to-earth Betty Cooper.

The "Married Life" maxiseries is divided into 2 realities, one where Archie is married to Veronica, while the other one is married to Betty. Each reality has it's own set of trials that are thrown at them while also exploring their friends' foray into the harsh "real world". The series is like a reminder of how young couples start out and how you need to make some tough decisions in life.

For me, this is a lot better than the "Will You Marry Me? series. As much as I respect the previous work for laying out the groundwork and finally showing to the whole world Archie and the gang actually growing up, this series was given a lot of freedom (more issues) and challenges that we all can relate to. Paul Kupperberg wrote one hell of a story and while Norm Breyfogle is famous for his realistic pencils on DC Comic's Batman, his art is not alien to the whole theme of the story. Although the colors look rather dark. And being in 2 realities where we get one story of Veronica then Betty the next, it can get pretty confusing at times (which reality is Chuck having difficulty maintaining a job, which reality is Jughead angry at Archie, etc.) Even the writer expressed his disorientation on mapping out the plot.

Now with giving some story bits while not giving everything away, here are some images to help me illustrate some of the good (and bad) points of the maxiseries (and also to help those who get bored easily on seas of texts.) Take note that I have only read the first 6 chapters of both realities. I'm still waiting for the second part to be on sale.

First, we go to "Earth-Veronica": (a DC Comics nod) Click to enlarge picture.

                                       This is one of best covers of the series. Money isn't everything.
                                   You can see from the start that Archie is not pleased with the decision.
                                                          And that this will cause conflict.
                                                Mr. Lodge was made into an antagonist in the series,
                                                      here he is giving Archie a reality check.
                     Here we are shown a glimpse of "Earth-Veronica" Betty talking to Cheryl Blossom.
                             Is it me, or does she look like Mary Jane Watson of "Spider-Man" series?
                                Even this scene looks something out of the "Spider-Man 3" movie.  
                         Mr. Lodge wants to buy off Pop Tates' Chocklit Shoppe to make way for
                    franchised fast-food restaurants. This angered Archie's best friend and future owner
                           Jughead Jones on  Archie because he's not doing anything to prevent it.
The planned reunion was a mess.
                                                 One of the good moments of the "Earth-Veronica":
                                                 Moose Mason running for Mayor of Riverdale.
                                                                     (it won't be easy.)
                                                          trouble in married land.
                                        here we are shown how much Mr. Lodge is being made into
                                  a hated person. Sometimes it's so much that it's almost ridiculous.

                                        these panels sums life well. As to who this grill cook is,
                                                              find out in "Earth-Betty".

                           Reggie Mantle has a lot of great moments in either of the realities. The writer
                              showed how much he has grown from his childish, prank-pulling behavior.
                                 Another great Reggie moment. Veronica is so confused on what she
                                 needs to do to her marriage that she almost had an "affair" with Reggie.
                                              But Reggie showed how much he has matured...
                                   When you look at it, Mr. Lodge is just business-minded in this reality.
                  He just wants progress in the little town of Riverdale. But in the "Earth-Betty"? Ummm..

                       Now don't feel bad about Reggie not getting Veronica. He's got someone too...

Then we go to "Earth-Betty":

Also one of the best covers of the series...You can sense the bittersweet feeling here..

Aaaannnnnd this is the part where Mr. Lodge becomes the 
complete antagonist.

This is the part where we are shown how many
"Earths" there are in the Archie Universe. Sounds weird, 
but DC and Marvel comics been doing it for years...
Mr. Weatherbee found out Ms. Grundy is ill.
So he did the most sensible thing when couples are in love..

 Archie is alone in New York, out of his element in Riverdale, 
he feels down than ever. 
The grill cook is none other than...

"Earth-Betty" had more romantic bits than "Earth-Veronica"

The third panel is a preview of things to come...
Some of them are pretty shocking...

Archie realizes his luck in big city New York. 
The fourth panel is almost like that part in "Spider-Man" 
quitting his costumed caper. 

Ambrose has been through a lot in this reality, 
so he knows how hard it can be.

In "Earth-Betty" Reggie is in a career slump, 
dealing with people like this.

Ms. Grundy gave out one of the best lines ever in the second panel...

Here we are shown Reggie being confused with life.
(but of course, he bounces back. not gonna tell you how.)

One of the funniest moments in the series, despite 
the overall serious theme ( I blame the colors, for one)

The penciler showing some of his "Batman" influences.

Ms. Grundy just shows that even after you've graduated, 
you are still "her student".

This page just shows the nature of Archie choosing either
Betty and Veronica on his dates. Y'know, I never even thought of  the
reason of Archie 's behavior until Ms. Grundy says it all. 

So there you have it. One of the great moments and observations of the maxiseries. While there are also some story elements of Midge Klump , Jughead Jones, Chuck Clayton, Nancy Woods and Ethel Muggs, they are overshadowed by Archie and his wife on the 2 realities. And Jughead's dilemma with the overtaking of the Chocklit Shoppe is redundant that you'd want to just say "C'mon!!! Get it over with!!!" Dilton Doiley, on the other hand, seems to just be playing spectator on it all. But I feel that he will play a big role on the last parts.

Archie: The Married Life is a wonderful story for those people growing up reading the comics. It's a delight seeing them all grown up and being in the same place that you were before when you were starting out as either newlyweds or a yuppie. While there are some bits that are off ( kinda dark colors, Mr. Lodge being overly antagonistic) and it is difficult to buy this trade paperback at any bookstore, ( I bought mine at a special comic-book store) they do not hinder the experience and worth the hunt. I say track it down and smile as you relate to Archie and the gang's hard lucks.

all images and characters Copyright Archie Comic Publications, Inc. 2012

- "the king"


Mavin Reyes - Nurse Critic said...

i have read the Archie marries Veronica part a few months ago, and yes, this is what the fans are waiting for 70 years. I am reader for 21 years already and it has been a mystery about what will happen if archie marries betty and veronica. this series is a poignant telling of a story of characters we have loved for years... thanks for posting this :)

Vicktuh said...

thanks for reading!!! me single issue din n binebenta, kaso i'm looking for the trade paperback volume 2.

Scortia said...

Tell me more. What happens between Reggie and Veronica when Archie marries Betty? And what happens to Reggie over all?

Vicktuh said...

Reggie was, for me, the breakout character and the one that changed a lot in this series. he became so mature and responsible and became a writer like his father before him. in the "Archie Marries Betty" universe, Reggie got cozy with Veronica. You can check out more on the collected editions of "The Married Life" at your local bookstore or comic book shop. I believe there are 4 oversized books overall