Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Haunting Of Riverdale: Part Two

Archie Comics has never been afraid of making things a little "intense" when they needed to.  Even if we're just now getting our first real "horror" books by the company featuring characters that have been around for decades, there used to be plenty of drama surrounding the characters.  Whether it was the teenage Archie, his childhood self "Lil' Archie," or even his superhero self, the books weren't afraid to add some pretty high drama.

So with Archie's Weird Mysteries delving into tales of horror reminiscent of things like Christine, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, and even Little Shop of Horrors, it's...really not that much of a surprise.

Let's dig into the second episode of The Haunting of Riverdale and see what happens next.

The story begins at an abandoned farm house, where a reddish (one might say "" if one was color blind) mist swirls around long abandoned apple trees before twisting itself through a doorway.  The mist reforms into the shape of Scarlet Helsing.  She and another vampire (with even more ridiculous hair) are responding to "the master's call," which apparently means grabbing shovels and digging him out of the ground.

Huh.  Apple trees out front, large oak casks in the basement...why, I do believe we've managed to sneak a distillery of hard apple cider into this show.  Congrats, show writers.

Now, I'm not an expert on the strategies of the undead, but was Scarlet's plan to make eternal night and then dig up her master?  You'd think "freeing the boss" would be first up there on the "to-do list."

We cut back to Riverdale High where apparently one day has gone by, as Reggie is reading an article about Veronica saving the world, and I absolutely love the fact that he recaps the entire first episode and then follows it up with "...where was I when this was going on?"

Veronica's eager to put the entire vampire business behind her, though, Instead, she's finagling a date out of Archie as repayment for "saving the world."

It's...all extremely boring stuff, so let's go back to see what Medlock, this "master vampire," looks like.



You know what, I'm just going to laugh for a bit, enjoy this timeless Deadpool comics page.

Hoo.  Okay.  I think I'm good.  Okay, let's look at this guy again.


Okay, sorry, I'm good.  Let's talk about this master of Scarlet's.  Where do I begin?  

Why does a vampire lord need knee pads?  How did he manage to keep what I can only refer to as an eight-pack of abs intact while buried underground for who knows how long (the ground did not look at all recently disturbed)?  Why does he have strange ties around his shoulder and upper chest?  Is he ashamed of his vampire nipples?  WHY DOES HE HAVE ON THREE BELTS?  And the face...he looks like the love child of Yoda and a Gremlin.

"When nine hundred years old you be, no fashion sense will you have."

I mean, the guy looks like he buys his clothes at yard sales held by characters in Final Fantasy games.  Seriously, when you can make this look like reasonable clothes in contrast:

...then you really need to reconsider your life choi- er, afterlife choices.  

Anyway, the master is completely giddy about the fact that the "eternal night of the vampires" is almost upon them, until Scarlet reveals that she hasn't been able to "turn" the chosen one yet.  But since Scarlet blew it, he decides to send the other guy, whose name is "Nilnewz."

I swear I could not make up something this incredibly stupid.

Okay, maybe we can get some common sense and intelligence out of the actual regular cast of the show.


The reason Archie looks like he's trying to beat Medlock at the "how stupid can you look" contest is that he was preparing for his date with Veronica, decided it was okay to be late by a few minutes to take some glamour shots with his mother (ladies, that's a really bad sign in a guy when he stands you up to stand next to his mother with a rose in his mouth.  That's how Norman Bates started, y'know), and then Jughead accidentally smushes a garlic burger against his suit, requiring him to wear Jughead's clothes.

Archie finally gets to Veronica's house, just to find that apparently Nilnewz managed to get there first.

Nilnewz stops Veronica from feeding on Archie, stating there will be plenty of time for it later, and Archie decides the most productive thing to do, once the two vampires transform into bats and fly away, is to put all the blame on himself for showing up late.

Yes, Archie, I'm sure Nilnewz would have made no efforts on Veronica once he realized that he'd be intruding on your date.

Back at the farmhouse, things get absolutely goofy as Scarlet puts the moves on Medlock, just to be casually pushed aside once Veronica enters the picture.  Veronica immediately transfers her Archie fixation over to the 900 year old (you thought I was just using that quote because of Yoda, huh?) vampire lord.

This, of course, annoys Scarlet to no end.

So, what do you do when the master you've loved for centuries decides to toss you aside for some fresh teenage tail?  You go find her friends and tell them how to kill Nilnewz, since he's the one who transformed her.

There's an exchange here I absolutely love.

Scarlet: "Let's just say I see little point in an eternal night if I have to spend it with an eternal pain in the neck."

Jughead: "Wow, Veronica's so annoying even the vampires don't want her!"

Scarlet agrees to bring Nilnewz to Riverdale High a half hour from that time in order for Archie, Jughead, and Reggie to attempt to kill him.  How do they plan on doing that?

Remember that garlic burger from before?  Their plan is apparently to breathe on him to death.

Strangely enough, the plan actually seems to be working, as he isn't able to get close enough to them to bite them.  Why he doesn't just, I don't know, leave, is another matter entirely.

Meanwhile, Betty was tasked with finding the sun stone at the Lodge mansion, where she encounters some trouble of her own.

I love the fact that Medlock (pfffhahaha) is just standing there watching a teenage girl vampire wrestle with a regular teenage girl.  He's like, "I just spend several centuries in a coffin underground.  I'll just take a moment to watch."

Hey, don't judge him.  He's from a different time, when Veronica and Betty would both be considered to be spinsters if they weren't married by that age.

Archie, Jughead, and Reggie manage to kill Nilnewz with their garlic breath, which turns Veronica back to normal.  Now, you might think they're not safe yet, because now it's just two teenage girls against an ancient evil prophesied to take over the world.  Medlock, ancient, wise, powerful vampire lord that he is, just stands there blinking dumbly as Veronica realizes what's going on and blasts him with the sun stone.  It doesn't reduce him to dust, but it does turn him into a withered, toothless old man.  

Oh, and the sun stone shatters because I guess you can only use it a limited number of times.  Magic artifacts work that way, right?

Scarlet shows up to take her withered master away, and when Jughead points out he still has one more burger, Archie (the true genius of the story) decides to let them go because letting two vampires remain on the world would never come back to proverbially bite them in the butt.

Archie wraps up the story by explaining how it's funny that his breaking his word caused ALL of the above story to happen (seriously, the universe does not revolve around your poor choices, Archie), and figures he'll never break a promise again.

Two down, two to go, and I know there's at least one more story involving Scarlet to come.  Who knows, maybe Archie and the gang will simply be able to beat her with the power of friendship like some strange My Little Pony-style episode.

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