Thursday, February 8, 2024

Comics Review: "ARCHIE Valentine's Spectacular No. 1" Conjures the Spirits of Love for 2024

ARCHIE VALENTINE'S SPECTACULAR #1 (2024)
ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS, INC.

STORY: Ian Flynn; Francis Bonnet; Dan Parent; Frank Doyle
PENCILS: Holly G!; Dan Parent; Samm Schwartz
INKS: Jim Amash; Bob Smith
COLORS: Glenn Whitmore
LETTERS: Jack Morelli; Samm Schwartz
EDITORS: Jamie Lee Rotante; Vincent Lovallo; Stephen Oswald
EiC: Mike Pellerito
COVER: Dan Parent with Rosario “Tito” Peña
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (March 2024) – On-sale February 

Rating: All-Ages

“Paths to the Heart”

Eternal high school student and teenage boy, Archie Andrews, and his friends made their debut in M.L.J. Magazines' Pep Comics #22 (cover dated: December 1941), and before long, Archie was the publisher's headliner character.  In 1946, the company changed its named to Archie Comic Publications, also known as “Archie Comics.”

Archie Comics frequently publishes themed one-shot comic books featuring Archie's characters (sometimes referred to as “the Archie Gang”).  One of them is the Archie Valentine's Spectacular No. 1.  The 2024 edition of this comic book has one new story and four reprint stories.  Entitled “Paths to the Heart,” the new story is written by Ian Flynn; drawn by Holly G! (pencils) and Jim Amash (inks); colored by Glenn Whitmore; and lettered by the great Jack Morelli.

“Paths to the Heart”:
As the story opens, the Spirits of Valentine's Day:  “Flowers, Hearts & Candy” have come to inspire love and connections.  As usual, Betty and Veronica are each struggling with what to get Archie for Valentine's Day.  Flowers has a suggestion for Betty; get Archie flowers.  Hearts has an idea for Veronica; she should confess her true feelings of love to Archie instead of buying him something.  But Candy thinks – Surprise! – that candy is the best gift.  But will these three spirits make things better or make them worse?

THE LOWDOWN:  Archie Comics has been sending me PDF review copies of their titles for several years.  Archie Valentine's Spectacular No.1 is the latest.

“Paths to the Heart” is really not a story; rather, it is the start of a story.  I imagine quite a bit of hijinks could have ensued, but they don't because “Paths to the Heart” ends before it really begins.

Sabrina Spellman in “Heartbreaker Havoc”:
Although it isn't this comic book's new story, “Heartbreaker Havoc” is the new story in Archie Jumbo Comics #347.  I'm glad that it was added to this issue.  It is written by Francis Bonnet; drawn by Holly G! (pencils) and Jim Amash (inks); colored by Glenn Whitmore; and lettered by the great Jack Morelli.

“Heartbreaker Havoc” opens on the grounds of Riverdale High SchoolSabrina Spellman a.k.a. “Sabrina the Teenage-Witch” witnesses Jughead Jones spurn Ethel Muggs after she asks him to take her on a Valentine's dinner date.  Sabrina cannot use her magic to make someone fall in love, but she can conjure up a cupid to do her dirty work.  She inadvertently ends up summoning “Heartbreaker,” a devilish cupid whose specialty is ruining love.  Now, Sabrina struggles to send “Heartbreaker” back to his realm, and she will need help from a surprising figure to do so.

Now, “Heartbreaker Havoc” is a successful Archie five-pager.  It has a beginning, middle, and end, and it actually works.  Best of all, it reads like classic Archie Comics, and I really enjoyed it.  It saves this edition of Archie Valentine's Spectacular No. 1.

If you are like me and love classic-style Archie Comics, you will love these stories.  And Archie Valentine's Spectacular is for you.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of classic-style Archie Comics will want to find a copy of Archie Valentine's Spectacular No. 1.

B+

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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