Archie issue 4 is out tomorrow and with it comes the #LipstickIncident reveal! Four months and four issues into Mark Waid’s rebooted Riverdale universe and we have the big answer as to what the #lipstickincident is. Was the revelation a letdown after months of building up the mystery? Is it a buzz worthy moment worth hashtagging?
Archie issue 4 is notable for not only being the issue to reveal what the #lipstickincident is, but also to feature Annie Wu as the new artist on the series. Wu delivers a style similar to Fiona Staples previous work, but with more of a punk-ish edge. It works and despite artist changes this early in the story, it doesn’t alter our enjoyment of Archie. Annie Wu has done great work with her DC Comics series Black Canary and she captures the timelessness of characters like Archie, Betty, and Jughead in a modern way. If you haven’t been paying attention to the relaunched Archie series, even with Mark Waid and Fiona Staples attached, now really is the perfect point to jump on board.
So, #lipstickincident. What’s it all about? We’ve had this running hashtag reference in Archie since issue one and, until now, has yet to be explained. There was some speculation that it would be a great esoteric reference meant only for Archie and friends to understand, much like Donna and Harvey on USA’s Suits with their can-opener ritual. However, all that changed as promised since last issue. After a solid build-up, Chapter Three: #LipstickIncident we finally learn the truth.
Mark Waid opens Archie issue 4 with our red-haired, sometimes aloof, but always charming hero remembering simpler times in his relationship with the car-mechanic, video game playing, and sports loving Betty Cooper. She’s written as one of the coolest in comic books and we see why Archie is so in love with her. Waid captures an authenticity to the relationship and of just being young with how he not only writes Archie and Betty, but of the whole comic. Sometimes stories about high schoolers and youngsters could be alienating for older readers, but Waid taps into something we could all relate to – wanting to stay young forever. Archie says “everything is perfect” after Betty and him tussle in the grass. This, unbeknownst to him, spells doom and sets forward a series of events that much like real life will only make sense in retrospect.
Archie overhears a group of girls making fun of Betty and after he calls them on it, they decide to befriend the girl they question if she wears diapers and consider “filthy.” The snobs! Betty almost reluctantly decides to spend time hanging out with and the rest of their time together is a familiar time. The two girls being girls sneakily ridicule Betty and attempt to change her into less of who she is. “Girls aren’t supposed to be gearheads” they say. “Girls are whatever we want to be” Betty replies.
After a dolled up Betty goes out on a date with Archie, they begin to both question themselves and of how far they’ve changed since that summer night contemplating how they’d always be together. They begin to fight and with a rash descision, Betty gives birth to…
Archie issue 4 by Mark Waid and Annie Wu is a lot of fun. This has easily been one of the most enjoyable series and despite Fiona Staples departure, Annie Wu is just as good, if not more so. Each panel is a delight to look at and she has given the world of Riverdale a look just as unique as Dan Parent. While the #LipstickIncident may be disappointing for some, I felt it worked within the story Waid is telling. Sure, it may have been more enjoyable if it was never explained, but the actual incident feels like something that could happen and would drive a couple apart.
Archie issue 4 gets five stars! It’s out now and to find your local comic shop, click here.
I’m very excited for Archie issue 5 as *SPOILER ALERT* Reggie Mantle III makes his full debut in a story called “Reggie vs. Veronica.” Will be be just the right person to enlist in the Betty/Jughead “Anti-Veronica Plan”?
Have you been reading Archie or any of the Archie publications? Did you enjoy the revelation of the #LipstickIncident or were you disappointed? Let us know in the comments below and feel free to tweet me at @reggiemantleIII … Yup, I am that guy!
The biggest comic series of the year continues as the greatest mystery in comic books is finally revealed! The “lipstick incident” split Archie and Betty apart and left Riverdale changed forever. What exactly happened and can things possibly be fixed? Find out in this issue and welcome ANNIE WU (BLACK CANARY, HAWKEYE) to Riverdale, as she takes over art duties in this brand new issue!
Script: Mark Waid
Art: Annie Wu, Andre Szymanowicz, Jen Vaughn, Jack Morelli
Cover: Annie Wu
Variant Covers: Mahmud Asrar, Francesco Francavilla, Jaime Hernandez with Rosario “Tito” Peña, Joe Quinones, Paul Renaud
On Sale Date: 11/25
32-page, full color comic