Archie 1941 #5 Brings An Emotional Journey To A Close

by James Ferguson

The war has hit home. The residents of Riverdale are feeling the loss of some of their own as Reggie Mantle and Archie Andrews have been killed in combat. Now all those squabbles pale in comparison to the real troubles friends and family face in the wake of such a tragedy. How do they all pick up the pieces and find the strength to soldier on?

There’s a cloud of sadness hanging over Riverdale. This loss has hit them hard. Colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick creates a gloomy atmosphere that feels like the polar opposite of the usual bright and sunny disposition we’re used to with this town. It’s like even the buildings and streets are experiencing grief.
Archie 1941 presents a very powerful portrayal of loss as everyone in Riverdale is experiencing grief in different ways. Some are accepting it, but others, like Archie’s mother are in denial. She refuses to believe her beloved only son could be gone. This leads to an emotional and heartbreaking scene where she argues with her husband about a banner he was hanging in the window for a fallen family member.

Artist Peter Krause captures this emotion perfectly. You can feel this poor woman’s grief permeating through the page. It has consumed her very being. Her husband is holding it together, but only by a thread. He has to keep going for all their sake, which isn’t the best way to handle this, however that’s what men did back then.
This flows well into a confrontation between Archie’s father and Betty, who shares a similar stance as Archie’s mother. This guy blows up at this poor girl, trying to talk some sense into her, when he’s really just letting loose all his own anger, frustration, and sadness. Letterer Jack Morelli gives this sequence some added weight with some explosive word balloons and bold text.

There are some twists and turns in Archie 1941 #5 as we reach the final moments of the series. Writers Brian Augustyn and Mark Waid handle these characters with care. Their lives are taken seriously. Each scene carries a huge dramatic bend to it, partly due to how much we know and love these characters, but also due to the deft writing that has put them in such a position. All of the arguments and battles big and small throughout the entire series to date built up to these incredible moments that will leave your jaw on the floor.

Archie 1941 started as a fun gimmick, taking Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, and the rest of the gang back to the year they were first created. It has ascended well past that, delivering a powerful drama with emotional ups and downs. It drives home the severity of war and how it can rock a small town halfway around the world.
Archie 1941 #5 from Archie Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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