Archie #19 Review: Strange Bedfellows

Archie #19 deals with more of Archie and Veronica's changing relationship, and a surprising change for Jughead. It's a pretty good issue, but with one flaw. I know this is typically the case with comic books, but the situation on the cover is more figurative than literal. It is true that the cover has potential new romantic situations for Veronica, but Toni Topaz, the only confirmed lesbian character in this iteration of the Archie universe, isn't in it. 

That disappoints me, because representation matters, and it would be interesting to see more of her. Instead, the romantic entanglement depicted on the cover is represented in the comic through Mr. Lodge setting her up. He wants her to be happy, so he organizes a teen leadership program, with Veronica as the judge. All of the contestants are boys that he deems suitable for her, and it is treated as a speed-dating event. Naturally, she isn't happy with that.

Fortunately, Jughead actually takes it upon himself to help her out. This is actually a pretty important shift in his character. He can be pretty cynical, and Veronica isn't one of his favorite people. He sees her as a rich kid with no real life experience, while she just views him as a lazy bum. The "New Riverdale" continuity actually makes this more interesting by showing that Jughead's family used to be rich, but they lost most of their funds after a mistake. 

Still, Jughead is Archie's best friend, and he wants him to be happy. He goes over to Archie at his disastrous camping trip and helps him to get to the ceremony. They reunite, and a grateful Veronica gives him the award. It's these wonderful character moments that reaffirm just why the Archie comic is so good. Ultimately, it's optimistic. Meanwhile, the ongoing mystery with Jason and Cheryl takes an interesting new turn. 

Spoilers beyond this sentence: 

It turns out that "Mr. Blossom" isn't actually their father. I didn't see that coming and I can't wait to see where Mark Waid goes with that.

Archie #19 is written by Mark Waid, drawn by Pete Woods, and lettered by Jack Morelli. You can find it at your local comic book shop.

Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or Harry Potter books.