World of Archie Double Digest #10

A comic review article by: Penny Kenny
There are lots of things to like in the conclusion to Tania Del Rio and Bill Galvan's "Love Me Baby, Mumbai!" First off, Raj is a likable character with a problem. He's trying so hard to fulfill his dream of being a director and show his father that he can make it his life's work that he forgets about his friends and their feelings.

Then there's his crush on Betty. Del Rio subtly shows how the glamour of show biz and working far from home bring these two together. The big surprise character wise is Reggie. While he retains his customary snarky and superior attitude, he also shows surprising insight into Raj's feelings and the movie.

The art team, led by Galvan, does a beautiful job. Rather than the Indian backgrounds showcased last chapter, this chapter features extended sequences from Raj's movie. Readers get to see singing and brawling. One of the most beautiful panels in the whole story shows a tearful Betty in profile singing of her loss of Archie. There's no background, just a skillfully inked and shaded area of blue. It's effective and evocative. On the brawling side, Archie gets to fight off several villains in a smartly choreographed scene that's visually dynamic.

Galvan uses wide screen bands to set off the first panel in the sequence.

This is a clever idea, as it lets readers know there's been a change of scene.

My one complaint with "Love Me Baby, Mumbai!" is that it just ends. The story is done and Del Rio wrapped up all the plots, but it just seems like there should have been another line or panel after Jughead's closing comment. As it is, it seems a bit off-balance.

As usual the Archie editors provide a solid collection of reprints and puzzles to complete the digest. Some highlights include:

"Floating": Golliher, D'Agostino, Yoshida, and Grossman. Dilton's "Fountain of Knowledge" float for the Founder's Day parade makes a real splash with Mr. Weatherbee when Archie helps out. This five-pager has attractive art and a smart plot. I also enjoy the "Look Mommy! It's Shamu!" line.

"What's for Breakfast": Gladir, Goldberg, Esposito, Yoshida, and Grossman. When Ms. Beazly doesn't take to the idea of providing breakfast for Riverdale High's students, Mr. Weatherbee tries to prove it's a wonderful plan. But has he bitten off more than he can chew? I like this one way more than I should just because Gladir perfectly captures the gap between administrative brain storms and reality. Goldberg and Esposito's art is attractive and expressive. The panel featuring a cowed Mr. Weatherbee is adorable.

"The Secret Behind the Mask": Doyle, Goldberg, D'Agostino, Yoshida, and Grossman. When Veronica runs away and falls into the clutches of a conniving PR man, it's up to Archie and Frankie Valdez to save her. Several things make this story memorable. First it has a very dark undertone. There's something about the art and phrasing of the dialog that suggests the real danger in hooking up with strangers. Second, Archie is portrayed as clever and quick-thinking, something I always like to see. Third, Frankie is shown to be an exceptional artist, something I was unaware was in his backstory. Now I want to see Frankie and Chuck as dueling artists.

"Team Spirit": Doyle, DeCarlo, and DeCarlo. A beautiful full-length story that has a pre-Pussycat Melody trying to help the football team. This one has it all. The script is sharp, the art it gorgeous, and the plot is more complex than you'd expect.

Bernstein, Rosenberger, and Contrera's "The Adventures of Young Dr. Masters," a special "70th Anniversary Classic," is a treat from 1964. A drama, it features a doctor who would rather be in medical research than a General Practitioner. Still he rushes into a police standoff to save a gunman, climbs unfinished skyscrapers and handles acetylene torches to rescue injured men, and has two women pining after him.

It's a wonderful concoction of the elements that made later dramas like ER and HawthoRNe popular. It's drawn in a realistic style, with attractive characters and dynamic action scenes. I'd love to see Dr. Masters make a comeback, even if just in a limited series.

World of Archie Double Digest #10 mixes the best of the new and old to create an entertaining experience for readers.

For the past thirteen years, Penny Kenny has been an elementary library paraprofessional in a rural school district. For the seven years prior to that, she headed a reading-math program designed to help first grade students with learning difficulties. Her book reviews regularly appeared in Starlog from 1993 to the magazine's unfortunate demise in 2009 and she has published several e-novellas under a pen name. She has been a reviewer with Comics Bulletin since 2007.

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