Screen-Shot-2016-03-15-at-10.56.46-AMPersonally, when I hear the name Archie I think of a comic that got stuck in time, where it’s still 1950, the gang hangs out in the soda shop, pulls hijinks in school, and well….basically doesn’t ever change. And frankly it was boring! But a few years ago someone decided that Archie and the gang needed to reflect more modern times, that the real world needed to enter the picture. They introduced Kevin, a young man that came out as gay, and his partner as well. Then they decided that they needed to answer the question of which one will Archie chooseBetty or Veronica? And that’s where this spinoff comes in.

In the series Archie: the Married Life the gang has grown up. Kevin went into the military and holds political aspirations. And the rest of the gang? Well…they take different routes depending upon who Archie marries. I know, I know, one marriage shouldn’t change everyone’s path, but it does. And it works for this series. And yes, yes it is a bit of a cop out for the writers on who Archie would marry, but in this final volume they weave the two different paths together and the Archie universe is shattered. Yes, the title of the book gives away what happens. Archie dies. The hero of a story, the character that has been around since before most of us were born, is dead! But that’s not what matters. What matters is why. Why did Archie die and what does his death reveal?

When it was announced that Archie was going to be killed a lot of people, myself included, just went “Really? REALLY???!? Isn’t this just a stupid way to end the series?” And yes it is a way to end the series, but stupid it is not. Of all the ways to kill a character, this one is well done and done in a fashion that shows off Archie’s true character. I won’t reveal why he died, but I will say a bit about what happens after he dies. A year later the gang gathers to remember him and I learned more about the true nature of Archie in that one chapter than any other story. He wasn’t just a good guy, he was one to be admired. Sure he made mistakes, but he did little things throughout his life that changed the world around him for the better, even if they never garnered praise in the papers. Whether it was helping save a park, helping a neighbor get his water back on, or showing the gang that he was going to be friends with who he chose and wasn’t going to get sucked into petty fights. All of these little things add up to make Archie a hero that deserved to be remembered. And that’s where the writing in this series really shines.

I can’t say that the artwork is my cup of tea, but that’s mostly because it sticks to the traditional Archie style. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it just doesn’t do justice to this amazing story in places, such as the scene where Archie is shot. And this isn’t the fault of the artists at all, it’s part of the problem of doing a story like this in Archie’s traditional style. Which is why I am glad that new stories are being told with more flair and more range of emotions.

The Death of Archie: A Life Celebrated is the last chapter of the last book of Archie: The Married Life. If you’re a fan of Archie, the entire The Married Life series will shatter your perception of who and what Archie Andrews and the gang are. If nothing else, The Death of Archie lets readers discover the hero that Archie was and deserves to be remembered as. Appropriate for middle school and up.

Archie: The Married Life, vol. 6: Death of Archie
[Collects Life with Archie: The Married Life #31-37]
by Paul Kupperberg
Art by Fernando Ruiz, Pat & Tim Kennedy
ISBN: 9781619889453
The Death of Archie: A Life Celebrated 
[Collects Life with Archie: The Married Life #36-37]
by Paul Kupperberg
Art by Fernando Ruiz, Pat & Tim Kennedy
ISBN: 9781627389822
Archie Comics, 2014
Publisher Age Rating: 13+

  • Dani Shuping

    Past Reviewer

    This reviewer is not longer actively working on our site, but we would not be here if not for our many dedicated contributors over the years. We thank all of them for their reviews, features, and support! Dani Shuping is currently a wandering librarian looking for a home. She has been involved in libraries for over nine years and and has had an interest in graphic novels since before that time. Dani began the graphic novel collection at Mercer, works with an English professor from time to time on a class on graphic novels, and just recently started a graphic novel book discussion group. She love attendings comic conventions, especially the smaller ones when they can, and one day may just have a comic of their own. Dani can be found at ashuping.net and goes by the user name ashuping where ever they can, such as on Twitter: @ashuping.

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