Back on June 8 (see “Bursting With Pride”), I wrote that I was looking forward to reading Archie & Friends: Summer Lovin’ #1 because it featured the story “Carnival Love!’” by Tee Franklin and Dan Parent which introduced Riverdale’s new resident, Franklin’s bi-racial, plus-sized pansexual character Eliza Han. But unfortunately, even with its groundbreaking (for Archie Comics) gay romance between people of color and the suggestion that polyamory might just be the solution that the eternal Betty/Archie/Veronica love triangle has been looking for, it’s a pretty conventional “Classic” Archie story.
Make no mistake, with her “Normalize Fat Bodies” t-shirt and partially shaved head, Eliza is admittedly a breath of fresh air. However, it’s a shame most of what we know about her comes from a text page in this issue (she’s African and Korean American, has ADHD, thyroid disease, Type-1 diabetes, and a brother with Down’s Syndrome). And, the triangle between Eliza, Veronica’s cousin, Harper Lodge, and Reggie Mantle never really develops mostly because the Reggie here is unrecognizably nice.
And, for the record, I immensely enjoyed the second story, “Windsurfing Woes!” by Tom DeFalco and Pat and Tim Kennedy. The Kennedy Bros. bring a lot of visual excitement to some fairly stale shenanigans as well as a wholesome sexy quality much in keeping with “Classic” Archie comics.
My lack of attendance is partially due to the fact that I’m still semi-sedentary (l haven’t made it out to see a movie in a theater since the pandemic began; I’m hoping Thor: Love and Thunder will break that streak), but it’s mostly because the reviews have been mediocre at best. However, I still want to see it when it becomes available for streaming on Disney+; I’ll let you know what I think about it then.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.