How many times have we seen the "death" of a comic book character? Despite all the hoopla over this issue, there is a feeling of sincerity. This may be part of the future Archie stories, but it's not a death that he'll come back from. Next issue's aftermath issue is the final of the series.
LIFE WITH ARCHIE has always explored the two possibilities of Archie marrying Betty or Veronica. Each issue would be split into two with stories focusing on the different timelines. This issue brings the two worlds together. This issue may contain the death of Archie, but it does a great job in recapping where Archie has been along with the importance of family and friends. Throughout its run, this series has not shied away from taking on deep topics.
In case you haven't been keeping up with the series, you do get a quick refresher of what has happened up until this point in both timelines. There has been a lot. The beauty of this book is how Paul Kupperberg balances and combines the two timelines. In this one single story, is he married to Betty or Veronica? The answer is is "yes." It's a story that fits in nicely with both. It's not a cheap death and Archie truly goes out in a heroic fashion.
Pat and Tim Kennedy's art gives us the Archie characters at a slightly older stage. Again, this is taking place in the possible distant future. For example, Archie has two kids in their teens. Seeing the different characters and having Archie reflect on many of them is a good way to build up the emotion and feeling of where this story is headed.
For those not familiar with what has happened in the two timelines, there's a lot to take in on the two recap pages.
We do get a nice and lengthy story. It does provide insight into what's going on in Archie's head and world before the tragic event. A couple parts did feel like they dragged a little just to provide a longer story.
Of course with the way comics sometimes have to be marketed these days, it's always unfortunate when the meat of a story is spoiled before you get a chance to read it. Sure, we all knew this issue would contain the death of Archie. That's important so readers don't miss it and retailers know to order sufficient copies. But seeing the actual scene took away some of the impact when it comes up in the actual issue. It may be about raising more attention to casual readers but it didn't seem necessary to spoil it for those that would actually read the issue. The main cover shows enough to arouse curiosity.
The time for the death of Archie has arrived. It might be easy to dismiss this as a mere publicity stunt but given the nature of the LIFE WITH ARCHIE series and the fact that it is coming to an end, the story does feel sincere. Paul Kupperberg gives us a nice long reflection over Archie and those that mean a lot to him. The series has always been split into the possible futures of Archie having married Betty or Veronica. In a brilliant fashion, this issue easily fits into both future timelines. For those deeply invested into Archie, it might be difficult to accept or take in this tragedy. It is done in a tasteful way. The only downside is you might have already seen how he dies before actually reading the issue. Next issue's follow up shouldn't be missed either. This is a story many are talking about and you won't want to miss it.