Archie #16 Review: The Moose Is Loose On Mantle The Magnificent


What happens when Riverdale High’s resident geek creates a new app? Reggie Mantle utilizes it for his own schemes! Is it time he faces the wrath of Moose Mason?

Archie #16

Writers: Mark Waid & Lori Matsumoto

Artist: Joe Eisma

Colorist: Andre Szymanowicz

More from Comics

Once again, an issue of Archie focuses on two characters not featured on the cover. Are Archie Comics covers becoming as “accurate” as Marvel Comics covers? At any rate, Mark Waid and Lori Matsumoto produce another amazingly fun story about the cast of Riverdale. This time the focus is on resident jock Moose Mason, resident geek Dilton Doiley, and Reggie Mantle. Often the teenage menace of Riverdale, Waid continues to forge Reggie into an effective villain.

Image by Archie Comics

Although most of the core cast have already been introduced by this stage of Archie’s revamp, many supporting members remained sparse. This time, Archie makes sure to introduce everyone to both Dilton and Moose in his usual fourth-wall-breaking style. Dilton is Riverdale High’s resident genius, capable of inventing anything the plot requires. Lacking a lot of social skills or patience, his inventions often blow up in his face. This time, that invention is a new app that lets folks rate stuff.

Image by Archie Comics

Has Dilton Let a Genie out of the Bottle?

Far more broad and simple than Yelp, Reggie Mantle sees it as an opportunity to sow chaos and misery. Previous issues have seen Waid reforge Mantle from a simple egotistical prankster into a more cunning creep. He almost tricked Jughead and Betty into getting him a fake ID, and tried to exploit Hiram Lodge’s hatred of Archie to get an in with the wealthy tycoon. Reggie’s motives here are less clear. He simply sees the app as a way to make people miserable as a prank all over town.

Image by Archie Comics

Usually, Archie is the one who has to thwart Reggie’s schemes, either directly or indirectly. This time, it’s Dilton’s relationship with Riverdale’s chief jock. Moose Mason isn’t bright, but he’s smart enough to help those who help him. In exchange for being tutored, Moose makes sure Dilton isn’t bullied. When Reggie’s scheme goes so far as to steal Dilton’s servers, it’s time for Moose to be unleashed. The end sequence with him stalking Reggie like a horror movie villain is priceless.

Image by Archie Comics

Cheryl Blossom only appears in about four pages of this issue, but they all count. While Veronica’s efforts to win her rivalry with her in boarding school have resulted in Cheryl winding up in Riverdale. It turns out that Smithers the butler is the agent trying to get Hiram to ship Veronica back to the small town they once fled, but Veronica feels it’s home. Cheryl clearly represents all that Veronica has overcome. She sees the small town “yahoos” as pawns to exploit in her rivalry.

Image by Archie Comics

Reggie and Cheryl Teamed Up? They Could Rule Riverdale!

Plenty of other longtime characters get memorable moments here. In fact, this issue may be the most page time that Ms. Grundy’s gotten for this revamp. Sheila Wu’s reaction to the app outbreak proves to be the last straw for Dilton. There also is some hint at “shipping” in this issue to keep the kids happy. Cheryl is meeting with Betty’s ex Sayid, and Dilton is pining for Betty from afar! I personally wonder whether Reggie and Cheryl will hook up. The pair have much in common.

Image by Archie Comics

The art by Joe Eisma and Andre Szymanowicz continues to dazzle. He’s not the same as Veronica Fish or Fiona Staples, but his style works with the universe they helped forge. Most importantly, he works with the physical comedy that Waid often puts into his scripts. His character reactions are bombastic and expressive. The finale with Moose versus Reggie is hilariously paced. The bits with Dilton envisioning his life crumbling over the crisis are also cute. As always, it’s a well drawn issue.

Image by Archie Comics

Next: See how Jughead saved the day from #15!

Mark Waid’s a legend in the field, but he seems to be on a tear with younger characters lately. His run here and on Champions continues to amaze, while his work on Avengers or even Black Widow sometimes underwhelms. Yet one of the things which may forever go on his record is being the man who rebuilt Riverdale. He’s transformed Archie into one of the most relevant teenage romance dramedy series out there. It was one of the best of 2016, and 2017 could be even better.