Written by Michael Uslan
Art by Stan Goldberg and Bob Smith
Hardcover (an oversized slipcase, at that)
Capriciously concocted by Michael Uslan (producer of the best and worst Batman films) with the intention of turning heads, “Archie Marries…” finds Riverdale’s resident redhead unprepared for life after high school graduation. With “The Archies” band all moving on with their lives and Archie himself hopelessly undecided, our hero walks the wrong way up Memory Lane (literally) and sees what his life would be like if he had married Veronica Lodge (a brunette femdom with a bottomless check book and daddy issues) or Betty Cooper (the wholesome and disturbingly domesticated blonde who lives next door).
Veronica gets to go first in the collection (of course) and her marriage to Archie seems to be akin to that of a gigolo. Archie proposes to her out of a need to find some sort of direction in his life and he pretty much suffers for it by spending their entire marriage trying to win over her skeptical father.
Veronica remains classy throughout the engagement process. She treats Betty and the rest of the girls to the spa, shares a heart-to-heart with her endlessly sobbing rival, and even encourages her to continue dating (to which Betty should have said, “Gee…thanks, bitch”).
For those of you who don’t believe in marrying for money (*pshaw*), Betty does get her chance at the altar in a juxtaposing story that oozes with appropriate levels of sentimentalism. Here, Veronica amps up the caty-ness while Betty plays the sad sack. Betty’s story is pretty much business as usual with the notable exception of some timely economic woes.
At $24.95 for an elegant slipcase hardcover and supplemental material, “Archie Marries…” is a nice collector’s item, but the story inside lacks excitement. Despite doing something different within the Archieverse, Uslan doesn’t attempt to break new ground; he just revisits all the things that made Archie appealing several decades ago. On a purely nostalgic level this idea works, however, if you remove the reverence from it then the whole thing seems horribly out of place in the year 2010. Sure, love triangles and high school sing-a-longs aren’t exclusive to 1941 (“Glee” and “Twilight” instantly come to mind), but they also won’t urge a new generation of readers to pick up your title and stick with it past the gimmickry.