Review: 'Archie: The Married Life' Books Two-Three

Archie: The Married Life Book Two

Archie: The Married Life Book Three

Archie Comics, $19.99 each, color

Writer: Paul Kupperberg

Artists: Norm Breyfogle, Tim Levins, Andrew Pepoy, Fernando Ruiz, Pat & Tim Kennedy

Inkers: Pepoy, Joe Rubenstein, Dan Davis, Al Milgrom, Bob Smith

Collecting "Archie: The Married Life" stories from Life with Archie magazine #7-18 (Mar 11-May 12)

These stories are amazing, because they retain the timeless qualities that make Archie stories forever fresh and attractive, while instilling the soap opera and continuity progression that make superhero comics popular.

That's quite a trick when you think about it, and some of the explanation comes from a glance at the credits: Kupperberg, Breyfogle, Milgrom, Rubenstein -- these are names familar to readers of superhero stories. There's a taste of soap of all the elements that these worthies learned on superhero comics.

And there's an honest-to-Earth-2 superhero comics plot -- after all, the whole premise of these stories is alternate Earths, one in which Archie married Veronica and another where Archie married Betty. And, much to my relief, they don't drag this out forever, with a genuine ending that wraps up all the plot elements of the first 18 issues and sets the stage for the next round of stories. (And also implies that all versions of Archie, and all Archie stories -- from Li'l Archie to Pureheart the Powerful -- have happened somewhere and could impact on future Life with Archie stories!)

Book 3 ends with multiple Archies, Diltons and Hiram Lodges, and all of their subplots, meeting and dovetailing together -- and then wiping the board, so to speak, for what comes next. I have no idea what that will be, except that if it's as good as what's come before, I'll enjoy it.

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