Life With Archie #14
Written by: Paul Kupperberg (both stories)
Art by: Fernando Ruiz (Veronica), Pat and Tim Kennedy (Betty)
Remember how I’ve been hoping that they’d soon advance (or resolve) the plot points about Mr. Lodge, Dilton Doiley, and the multiverse side of things? Looks like they’ve decided to do just that, in spades… plus threw out a few new plot points!
Despite the Christmas themed cover, this issue takes place around Halloween. In the “Veronica” universe, Ronnie is still separated from Archie, and to try to get over this, throws an over-the-top Halloween party for everyone (except her husband). Meanwhile, in the “Betty” universe, Jughead is throwing a Halloween shindig at the Chocklit Shoppe. Archie (in each universe) has dressed up like King Arthur for Halloween (though “Veronica”‘s Archie has no particular party to go to). In “Veronica,” Archie wanders by Memory Lane, and runs into his old friend Ambrose (who he hasn’t seen in years). Ambrose, however, leaves Archie with some cryptic remarks about the nature of their childhood imaginary (or not-so-imaginary) adventures, and then vanishes, leaving Archie puzzled… and accidentally wandering into the “Betty” reality! After some confusion, he soon finds himself back in the “Veronica” one.
Over in “Veronica,” Archie shows Ambrose the old theater he thinks should be turned into the Riverdale branch of Ambrose’s club, which Ambrose agrees to. Afterwards, Archie changes into his Halloween costume, and walks Ambrose back to his car, parked near Memory Lane. Ambrose asks Archie to “keep an open mind” no matter what happens in the next few weeks (hmm…). After this, Archie somehow crosses over into the “Veronica” reality, and (after similar confusion as before), returns to his own world. Watching *both* Archies in all this, however, is a disguised Dilton, who gathers an impromptu meeting of both Hiram Lodges. Dilton warns the Lodges about the barriers of reality breaking down, resulting in Archie’s reality-hopping above. “Crisis on Infinite Earth-Archies?”
Despite the focus on the fantastical side of things, a few other plot points are touched on. In “Veronica,” Chuck and Nancy’s relationship is showing signs of strain; Midge and Jughead’s relationship is also stalled. In “Betty,” more heavy hints of what’s likely to happen for Midge and Jughead are shown (though not a surprise to anyone that read the original “Wedding” storyline, or who’s seen a soap opera).
I assume next issue should be even more “meta,” with the revelations about Ambrose here now making him a bigger player in all of this. I assume, however, the characters’ own plot points won’t be ignored (for those who prefer that over the multiverse subplot).