Archie #619 is filled with twists and turns, sudden reversals of fortune, humor and strong characterization. Tom DeFalco writes an Archie that is courageous, good-hearted, optimistic and impulsive. He's also smart; while he's sometimes surprised in this installment, he's never caught entirely flat-footed. Maid Betty is spunky and devoted to Arch, but also capable of being a bit haughty. The sniping between her and the shallow and selfish Princess Veronica is sharp and funny, one of the highlights of the chapter. The mad Duke of Doom is smoothly wicked and Sheriff Chester of Not-a-Thing clearly enjoys being on top for once.
The story flies along. There are no unnecessary scenes; everything is tailored to move the story forward. No one is standing around just talking. The dialogue all presents needed information and/or leads to some action, whether humorous or dramatic.
From a technical standpoint, DeFalco does a particularly fine job of making the reader want to turn this pages this issue. There are the traditional transitions, such as dialogue that extends over two pages that a good writer uses to slide the reader from one scene to another, but there are also two spots where DeFalco builds up reader expectations only to totally turn them on their head. You're led to think one thing, flip the page with bated breath, and go "What?!" in pleased surprise. It's a great example of continuous building and releasing tension.
The art is energetic and expressive. Ruiz has the neat trick of having Archie's hair curve upward into little horns when he gets excited. It's a cute visual cue to his emotions. While the book generally has a bright, cheery look, heavy on the greens and blues, there are shadowed panels. This contrast gives added weight to the narrative. For instance, when Doom and Chester are discussing the kingdom's future, Digikore Studios colors the conspirators in various shades of violet, purple, and black, placing them against a blue-violet background. Even if you didn't see their dialogue, you'd get the feeling they are discussing something nasty and of import.
Archie #619 is an entertaining issue that can be enjoyed by Archieverse fans, Robin Hood fans or just a casual reader.
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