Cheryl Blossom has arrived and Veronica Lodge is seeing red. Archie Vol. 3 collects issues #13-17 of the series starring the all-new, all-different Riverdale gang. Here’s my review. WARNING: Flower puns ahead.

Archie Vol. 3 cover

Archie (2015) Vol. 3

Story: Mark Waid and Lori Matsumoto

Art: Joe Eisma

Colors: Andre Szymanowicz

Letters: Jack Morelli

Publisher: Archie


Chapter One: The Flower of One’s Youth

Mark Waid was smart enough to ask his friend Lori Matsumoto to write the Veronica scenes with him because, as he explains in this collection’s Previously In… section, he’s “not especially gifted at writing about the trials and tribulations of young women negotiating their way through boarding school”.

Waid and Matsumoto inject some ridiculousness in Veronica Lodge’s time in a boarding school in Switzerland while not neglecting the fact that teen girls can be pretty cruel to one another.

Archie Vol. 3 - Cheryl Blossom

We don’t just see the savage takedowns, but also how characters are affected by it whether they’re the victim or the perpetrator. We see Veronica feeling awful about a victory over her new nemesis, Cheryl Blossom. We see Cheryl getting more bitter and crueler as she suffers consecutive defeats.

We don’t go too deep, though. We just see enough of Veronica’s soul and Cheryl’s blossoming desire to set fire to Veronica Lodge’s life. The rivalry is established pretty quickly and they leave plenty of room to let it grow further.

It’s a great introduction to Cheryl Blossom and an interesting exploration of Veronica’s burgeoning conscience.

Chapter Two: Wither on the Vine

As Veronica and Cheryl wage war in Switzerland, Archie deals with the absence of Veronica back in Riverdale.

How Archie deals with being countries apart from Veronica may seem goofy and silly, but it’s how most of us handle heartbreak, honestly.

Archie starts acting like Jughead as he tries to escape the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness brought about by a broken heart, something a lot of us can relate to.

Jughead starts acting like Archie as he temporarily becomes the responsible best friend to a guy who is suddenly all gloom and doom. It’s a fun character switcheroo that doesn’t involve brain-swapping, voodoo, or other comic book high concept plot devices.

It’s a great study of Archie and Jughead’s friendship. Mark Waid may be clueless about rich teenage girls in boarding schools, but he definitely knows how to write about dumb boys and how they deal with feelings, relationships, and responsibilities. He’s funny too.

Archie Vol. 3 - Archie and Jughead

Chapter Three: In Bloom

It”s not all about teen angst though. Even with all the teen queen boarding school battles and Archie learning how to cope with a broken heart, there’s still a lot of lighthearted, fun, and funny stuff to enjoy in Archie Vol. 3.

There’s the short but sweet sub-plot about Archie’s parents. There’s the fun story about Dilton Doiley inventing an app that stirs chaos among the residents of Riverdale because Reggie Mantle is the worst.

Archie Vol. 3 - Dilton, Moose, and Reggie

And then there’s the first meeting of Cheryl and Archie. It’s my favorite part of the whole collection. I don’t know why, but Archie rolling down the hill in a barrel of molasses is so hilarious to me. It’s completely absurd but it also makes sense because he’s Archie Andrews.

Chapter Four: IN CONCLUSION

Archie Vol. 3 continues Mark Waid’s reimagining of the gang from Riverdale. It’s reminiscent of the Archie comics of old, but it’s all grown up. It has heart and soul plus a bunch of laughs to boot.

Not too crazy about Joe Eisma’s art, but maybe I’m just comparing it too much with Fiona Staples’ run earlier in the series.

This collection is entertaining enough to warrant multiple re-reads, so it deserves to go to the upper half of The List as the new #5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Archie (2015) Vol. 3 is available now wherever fine comic books are sold.

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