Saturday, December 5, 2009

Archie Marries Veronica: "It's Twins!" (Part 3 of 6)

Ah, the last chapter in the Veronica half of the Archie Wedding Saga. Not unlike its predecessor, Part 3 is not terribly plot driven. In fact, it's even less plot driven than Part 2...if that's possible...and it is.

It begins when Archie announces Veronica's pregnancy to his parents, Fred and Mary. At that moment, Jughead, Reggie, and Moose burst in with congratulations and mention the various ways they will add to "Little Archie" or "Little Veronica's" life. Archie then breaks the news to Mr. Lodge who immediately has his will changed to bestow his most prized possession, a sled named "Rosebuddy", to his grandchild. (Note: Anyone old enough to get this joke will find it retarded.)

Meanwhile, Veronica flies to New York City to meet with Betty at a run down diner. Betty hasn't been faring well in the city. She's recently been laid off and her relationship with Henry from the previous issue in the story arc, has ended because it's "hard to meet nice guys in the city." Veronica announces that she pregnant and asks Betty to be the which she agrees...of course.

So since Betty wasn't born with Veronica's advantages, the recession is fucking her over, just like Reggie. The love life isn't going so well either because of the lack of "nice guys" in the city. Translation: I won't have sex till I'm married and only one man is truly worthy of my blessed virginity, but since he's married to another, I am cursed to chastity until one night, my morals are worn down by loneliness, desperation, and one too many Cosmopolitans, and I end up in the bed of some toolbox like Henry who'll dump me a week later because I can't stop crying over the one man who could never love me despite my never wavering loyalty and devotion.
...I'm guessing.

It wasn't enough for Betty to witness the proposal. (Yes, yes, I know...not Archie's fault). Nor was it enough for Veronica to ask Betty to be her maid of honor. You know, sitting in the first pew just isn't up close and personal enough to watch your one true love marry the heinous bitch who's never deserved him. You have to be right next to her. Every smile, every tear is right there for you to observe and burn into your memory. This is the best day of your best friend's life. You never want to forget it. But that's not enough for the cuntfaced Mrs. Andrews. No, now Veronica asks Betty to be the godmother to the product of her and Archie's love. [Sigh].

Two trimesters later, Archie and Veronica begin Lamaze class, which proves to be a slapstick disaster for Archie. One night when Veronica's ill, Jughead fills in for her replete with a pillow under his shirt. Hilarity ensues. Despite all of this, Archie promises to be calm when the big day arrives. Shortly thereafter, Veronica goes into labor and he drives her to the hospital with minimal drama. Soon Veronica delivers a redheaded boy named Archie, and a black haired girl named Veronica.

What the fuck! Archie Junior and Veronica Junior? Are we that self-involved? Does the writer think we'll forget who's kids they are if they're not named after their parents? I had hope that the twins would be named after their grandparents after the four of them exchanged names. I think "Mary Hermione Andrews" and "Hiram Frederick Andrews" are very sweet names, especially given Archie's past relationship with Mr. Lodge. (That and Hiram would have been my name if I was born with a, yeah). Even the most popular, overused names would be better than Archie and Veronica. UGH!!!

Time passes and Archie and Veronica move back to Riverdale and buy a minivan. Parenting is exhausting for both of them, but they lovingly raise their children past diapers and bottles. When the children are around five, the Andrews and the Lodges celebrate Christmas together. The children are sent to bed and Archie and Veronica discuss their happiness. Archie claims that he would be just as happy without the money. "All you need is love," he says.

By the third issue in this story arc, I should have known that the homey suburban life would be everything Archie and Veronica ever wanted. My dreams of Archie suffering under the oppression of a plasticine world were dashed. After all, New York City is simply no place to raise affluent trust fund babies. The Andrews' must move. But where is a place where there is no crime? No pollution? No pushing or swearing or (unfortunately) premarital sex? Oh, yeah, Stepford!

I mean, Pleasantville!

I jest. Riverdale will always be home sweet home.

After the Christmas festivities are over, Archie tucks his children to bed and reads them "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost in its entirety. (Um, what's wrong with "The Night Before Christmas"?). Before wrapping up the rest of the presents, Archie insists on going for a walk during the first snow of the season. He and Veronica exchange "I Love You's" and he heads out the door, looking distraught. He walks up Memory Lane and comes to the yellow wood and begins walking down the right fork in the road.

So, I had never read all of "The Road Not Taken" before I opened up Archie #602. It's ironic. Often comic books are (or were?) criticized for adding to the illiteracy and ignorance of America's youth. Who'd have thought that a comic book was responsible for my introduction to one the most famous poems in literature. I wouldn't otherwise mention the poem except it takes up a whole page of the comic. It must be a favorite of Michael Uslan's. He was probably reading it one night in bed and figured, "Hey...this kind of reminds me of the Archie love triangle. I'm calling the company in the morning!"

We're now halfway through our look into the future of Archie Andrews. His time with Veronica as his blushing bride is over and I am left with several thoughts and concerns. My biggest surprise is that Veronica isn't as big a cunt to Archie as I suspected. (To Betty...fuck yes). But to Archie, she's not as naggy...or roller coastery (yes, that's a word now). The materialism even seems to have dissipated...after the wedding, and even the wedding isn't as bad as it could have been.

Now that I think back, Veronica really isn't herself during these three issues. She never yells at Archie, not even while she's in labor. Not once does she get irrationally angry with him. Not once does she flirt or give a sideways glance to another guy. It's all about Archie. This is how it always should have been. But why now? Has college matured her? Or did it just take a huge diamond to tie her to one man?

I don't know. Archie and Veronica's relationship seems, dare I say it?...equal. That's a word I never thought I'd use to describe their relationship. But it oddly is. Yes, Archie works like a dog. Veronica isn't shown working, but maybe she is doing more than dragging Archie to black tie benefits. Maybe she's volunteering. (I'm really trying to give her the benefit of the doubt). Then after they migrate back to Riverdale, Archie's workload seems to lessen and he and Veronica's care taking duties are evenly split. There is no indication of unhappiness or dissatisfaction. It's almost as if he made the right choice.

I sit in disbelief as I type this. But I realize the Veronica arc would show Veronica in the most positive light. This is like the Greatest Hits of Veronica. So that would be sex appeal...riches...excitement...glamour. Of course, I think the "excitement" and "glamor" dies once Archie and Veronica Junior come along. But the money's still there and with the help of personal trainers, so is Veronica's lithe, seventeen year old figure. Again, it's a dream sequence, so in Archie subconscious, he's going to imagine the girl of his dreams being the perfect wife and suspiciously losing all of her cuntlike characteristics that caused him anguish in high school.

Now, all of this would be fine and dandy if it weren't for one panel. One little panel showing Archie outside his door with the most downtrodden look on his face. Is it all a facade? Is his life with Veronica a meaningless parade of charity auctions mixed in with private school P.T.A. meetings? The lyrics of Britney Spears' "Lucky" spring to mind: "if there's nothing missing in [his] life then why do these tears come at night?" Okay, so he's not shown actually crying, but he looks like he would at any minute. And walking towards the yellow wood, does he know the right fork leads to his future with Betty or is it all a coincidence?

And Betty! She's never heard from again. Jughead is at the hospital when the twins are born. One can assume he's the godfather, so where the fuck is Betty? She isn't even mentioned again. In fact, after the kids arrive, none of Archie and Veronica's old friends show up. Is Archie Comics trying to give us some honesty? The honest truth that once you have kids, your life becomes all about them and all your former friendships die unless your friends have kids around the same age as yours? Since Jughead is anti-woman (and, yeesh, anti-sex?) and Betty is the lonely, childless, single gal, it's unlikely either of them have Jughead Junior and Betty Junior to bring over to play. So I guess we're supposed to believe that everyone in the Riverdale gang is still single...except Archie, Veronica, and Ethel. Hmmmm.

It would be stupid of me to wish for more closure when we're only halfway through the story line. But I would be anxious to see how Archie and Veronica's marriage effected everyone else. And I would have loved to see a single panel of Betty, alone on Christmas or something, showing us readers that without Archie in her life, she has nothing. Or, is she better off without him? I mean, what the fuck is she doing while Archie recites Robert Frost? Tanked and watching It's a Wonderful Life or giving some colleague a very Merry Christmas?

Alas, we shall never know because the next issue switches over to Bettyland, and we'll see the instricacies of her and Archie's marriage. Perhaps there will be more detail in the Betty/Twins issue, but then again, the last five or six pages will probably be of Archie coming back to the present and having some dumbfounded realization...maybe...who knows? This whole thing's been a crapshoot.

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