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Archie #599

July 23, 2009

Archie #599 (Archie Comics)
By Hal Lifson, Stan Goldberg, George Gladir & John Rose

When I picked up this issue of Archie, I noticed the lead story wasn’t written by one of the regular stable of creators, and boy, did it show. A woman stuck in the 60s hires the Archies to play the new “Riverstock” music festival, and along the way, they begin sharing “green” messages. That’s it. There’s absolutely no plot here, no tension, no conflict. Stories — even Archie stories — need a conflict. Or at least a punchline, but we don’t even get that. The story is utterly bereft of comedy, it’s just page after page of preaching about how great the 60s were and how everyone should get involved with environmental issues. If you want to teach a lesson, fine, but at least wrap it in a real story. I’ve read Archie comics for decades, and this may be the worst lead story I’ve ever read. Fortunately, the two back-ups are much more traditional fare. In “Beach Brouhaha,” Archie’s new job as a lifeguard doesn’t turn out as he expected, leading to a nice last-page punchline. “Mower Madness” is even better — Reggie tampers with the lawn mower Archie is hoping will help him earn the money for a Go-Kart, but the result puts him on the racetrack sooner than expected. Next issue is the big 600, and I’m looking forward to another experimental story there, but this issue just bombed out.
Rating: 4/10

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