*Spoilers for the end of “Over the Edge”!*
Riverdale returns to the screen this week and Archie Comics wrapped up their summer drama arc just in time. Archie #24 rounds out the “Over the Edge” event that conveniently spanned the Riverdale hiatus and kept fans new and old on the edges of their seats. Much like a classic Life with Archie, “Over the Edge” dialed everything up to 11, from the stakes (life or death) to the relationships (the entire Andrews family banned from the Cooper household?) to the consequences (Reggie Mantle in HANDCUFFS?).
There were very few laughs to be found in “Over the Edge”, but this issue sets us up for a return to life as usual, or as usual as it gets in Riverdale, with a sigh of relief all the way around.
As it turns out, no one died in the drag race of the century which kicked off the “Over the Edge” storyline. However, it’s fair to say almost everyone involved lost the life they’d grown accustomed to. After driving the car that pushed Betty Cooper over a cliff, Reggie is arrested. Archie sells the Mustang that started it all to help the Coopers make the needed renovations to their home. Renovations made necessary by Betty’s new wheelchair-bound state.
Last issue, the gang split up Betty’s enormous responsibilities among the Riverdale community. Now they shift gears to bake sales, Go Fund Me campaigns, and car washes—all to benefit Betty and the causes she holds dear. While Betty is plenty grateful, she’s also not one to let other people get their hands dirty on her behalf. From her friends to her parents to her physical therapist, Betty turns down offers to help, always adding “but thank you”, because she wouldn’t be Betty if she didn’t.
While the cover of Archie #24 teases Reggie in handcuffs as the main event, it’s almost a side-plot that will hopefully hold more weight in future issues. The entire town of Riverdale, unimpressed with Reggie to begin with, has decided to drag his name through the mud. Even his own father capitalizes on the drama surrounding his son to make a catchier headline in his paper.
The real drama, as usual, exists between ol’ Cooper and Andrews. Betty takes a step back from her relationship with Dilton only to head home and shed some tears of frustration over her seemingly irreparable relationship with Archie. Mr. Cooper is having none of it, and actively lies to Betty about why Archie hasn’t been around since she got home from the hospital. In true Archie fashion, however, he finds a way to break the rules and let Betty know he’s still in her corner.
Writer Mark Waid continues capturing the true essence of the Riverdale crew. Archie’s self-awareness, Jughead’s lack thereof, and Betty and Veronica’s undying devotion to one another come through over the course of “Over the Edge.” But the truly remarkable relationship here is the one between Betty and Archie; the relationship that has kept the drama high since long before the first issue of the Archie re-brand, and it seems will keep us on an emotional rollercoaster until the end of time.
Archie #24 is the first for new-to-the-team Audrey Mok, but his art fits the upbeat style of previous issues. Mok’s Betty is particularly impressive, and the sequence with the most power is Betty’s breakdown, which requires no dialogue at all. That sequence alone makes this issue one to keep on the shelf.
Story: Mark Waid Art: Audrey Mok Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick Letters: Jack Morelli
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review