Sunday, October 18, 2015

Archie's Weird Mysteries: Invisible Archie

Okay, everybody, this is it.  So far we've had killer potatoes, twisted wishes, possessed cars, and giant teenagers.  Now we're getting into a more "classic" movie monster homage, with Archie Andrews, eternal teen, becoming the Invisible Man.

Now, I know what a lot of teenage boys would like to do if they were suddenly invisible, and none of them are not creepy, and most are illegal.  Let's see if this cartoon series holds true to Archie being the most pure and noble person on the planet (who has already seen one of his girlfriends naked this season) or is human like everyone else.

Once again we're at Riverdale High, and once again we start with a completely mediocre line reading.  Archie and Reggie try to get the attention of Betty and Veronica who are working on laps around the race track.  Archie, providing the first words of the episode that aren't from the narrator, does the most listless and unenthusiastic "Hi, Betty.  Hi, Veronica."  Reggie at least gives us a touch of smarmy suaveness with his call out to them, which I would hope is the only reason they respond back.

Reggie attempts to charm the girls with a smile (complete with sparkle and "ting!" sound effect), and Archie tries to counter that by announcing he's going to give the girls some "triple A."  ...I'm not entirely sure I'm comfortable with where this is going.

Reggie asks what he means, and Archie clarifies, "Archie Andrews action."

That...doesn't really help matters.

Archie, however, is out of luck.  Despite pulling off an impressive pole vault, it appears that someone else has caught the eye of Archie's girls.

That's Robbie Dobkins, a character that I don't think has ever shown up in Archie comics continuity before.  He apparently bulked up during the summer, and this year bumped Reggie from the track team (because huge arm and chest muscles are what you need for running?).   It even carries over into Chemistry class, as the two girls dote on Robbie to be their lab partner.  I like the fact that Betty coyly says, "I'm good at chemistry."  Veronica just counters with "I'm not, but daddy will buy us the best tutors money can buy."

Reggie and Archie are left wondering what they could possibly do to compete with muscles like Robbie's.

Enter, the solution to all of life's problems.

Nerds!  I mean, SCIENCE!
First off, how has nobody claimed Dilton as their lab partner yet?  That's like teacher say "first person to raise their hand passes the class with an A plus and an instant spot on the honor roll," and nobody accepts.

It turns out that Dilton already completed the class assignment and is working on his own private experiment, a concoction that gives instant muscles to anything it's externally applied to.

That's right, Dilton just made instant steroids.  Steroids that last for a few hours then fade away, leaving the creature no worse for wear other than "some feelings of inadequacy."

Reggie instantly volunteers to be a human guinea pig, but Dilton points out that it's way too dangerous and he has no idea what effect it would have on humans (as we know, Dilton's experiments often work strangely on one organic being but not others, see: fruit vs. Veronica).  

Once class ends, Reggie and Archie both "coincidentally" wind up back in the lab, but it appears Archie is going to stick with his "I left my backpack here" (something I don't think we've ever seen him carry).  They get into an argument about whether or not to "sample" Dilton's formula,  The two wind up spilling on themselves, but don't feel any different.  It isn't until Archie leaves the lab and goes into the bathroom that things start to go bizarre for him.

He quickly finishes vanishing without a trace, as does Reggie out in the hallway.  Fortunately, nobody was around to see Reggie disappear, but it takes him a minute to figure out what's going on as his attempts to smile at Veronica go completely unnoticed.

Archie confronts Dilton in the lab to try to find a cure.  Reggie, meanwhile, finally realizes that he's invisible and can "do anything."

But before we get to Reggie's perversions, let's check back in with Dilton and Archie.  Dilton crunches some numbers, and concludes that Archie is going to "fade from existence completely" in a few hours....which, let's be honest, if Dilton actually made something that simply erases things so their atoms no longer exist, that's a violation of several huge laws of the universe, but also a bigger scientific boon to mankind.

Dilton gets to work on an "antidote" ( that the correct term?  This isn't a poison or anything), and Archie is sent out to find Reggie.  How do you find an invisible man when you, too, are invisible?  Well, you dress up as a mystery pervert, first of all.

Reggie shows some actual restraint by not immediately running to the girl's locker room, instead messing around with Miss Grundy.  Archie and Reggie bump into each other in the hallway, but Reggie bolts before Archie can tell him what's going on.  Archie does get caught by Mr. Weatherbee, however, and is promptly escorted to detention for being in the halls without a hall pass.

Reggie continues to pull cheap pranks on people around him (seriously, dude, I'm a nice guy and I think I'd think of better stuff to do if I was invisible), and Archie puts up with Mr. Weatherbee for a moment before taking advantage of a phone call distracting his principal to simply strip out of those clothes (I'm assuming his regular clothes are still on, just invisible) and escaping.

Dilton puts together a (sigh) "antidote" and tests it on Archie.  Fortunately for the continuation of the series, Archie returns to normal and doesn't, say, explode.  Or turn into a potato.  Or shrink.  Anyway, the two get out to the field to try to find Reggie amid all the people taking part in the track meet, and quickly realize that trying to find Reggie is a pointless task.

So instead, they sabotage the sprinkler system so it'll spray chemicals on everybody there, because who knows what effect this stuff will have on people who aren't invisible!  Maybe they'll be EXTRA visible!

Pictured: Yet one more felony in Archie's case book about to be committed.
Fortunately, it doesn't seem to affect anything other than Reggie.  Also, Reggie apparently doesn't realize he's visible when he goes for one last prank and yanks down Robbie's shorts.

Here ya go, ladies, something to balance out the Betty and Veronica cheesecake this series is so rife with.
Reggie gets the daylights beaten out of him by Robbie, Archie and Dilton high five over successfully getting Reggie beat up, and Mr. Weatherbee shows up to throw Archie back in detention.

And, um, that's it.

No, really, that's everything.  There wasn't as much meat to this episode as episodes in the past, and considering the stakes were "be cured or be wiped from existence," you'd think it'd come across more serious than just "oh, time for some lame pranks!"

I expected an invisible fist fight that knocked over things in a room, or silhouettes in a cloud of steam struggling with each other, or any of the really lame special effects from Hollow Man or your standard "turned invisible" episode of any number of wacky sitcoms.

Okay, so this was a pretty weak way to end this part of Halloween Month, but I promise that next week we'll actually get into some scary stuff.  I promise!

Like, say, crude Playstation 1 graphics!

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