Story and Art: Dan Parent
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Inks: Rich Koslowski
Letters: Jack Morelli
What They Say:
Harper Lodge returns to Riverdale and she’s in the process of writing a new book. She only shares details of the book with her cousin Veronica, but Veronica lets it be known that the book is semi-autobiographical. When it turns out to be a romance featuring someone inspired by one of the boys from Riverdale, everybody wonders who the male love interest is based on! But the more the gang thinks they’ve got it figured out… the more wrong they realize they are! Who is Harper’s tale about? Will the gang solve the mystery? Find out in “Writer’s Blockheads”!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Harper Lodge, Veronica’s cousin, visits Riverdale to spend time with her family and work on her new writing project: a graphic novel entitled “The Powers that Be.” She based each of the characters off of people she knows, including the Riverdale gang, and some may not be too happy with how she portrays them in fiction (hint: Veronica!).
I think it’s safe to say that Archie beats the other companies out there when it comes to diversity. Not only does the line feature as diverse a population I’ve seen outside of The Simpsons, it does so in a way that refrains from pandering or coming off as meeting a quota. Harper is a paraplegic whose parents are Indian (I think. Forgive me if I’m wrong) and white. Her superhero persona in Powers that Be is Gem, whose wheelchair transforms into just about anything she needs. When she shows the comic to Reggie, he asks why she didn’t give Gem the use of her legs, to which Harper replies, “Well, I don’t want that! That’s no who I am! This is what makes me who I am!” It’s a powerful, positive statement, and that energy and comfort with who she is radiates from that character. She also writes other characters with disabilities into her story: a quadriplegic with telekinesis and a blind woman with super hearing.
In some ways the story is a bit meta, addressing and putting into practice the very real and very debated topic of diversity in superhero comics right now. The comic even goes further with references to other comics: Jughead’s power in the comics is the ability to eat any form of matter, referencing the Legion of Superheroes character Matter Eating Lad. I also wonder if Gem—Harper’s alter ego—is based on the character Wiz Kid from Marvel’s X-Terminators. That might be a stretch on my part, though.
Again, all of this could come off as pandering, but the comic avoids that by sticking to the characters and making the real plot about their reaction to Harper’s book once they learn that she wrote all of them into it.
Once again, Archie proves to be a fun and uplifting read, and once again the company proves that it stands at the forefront of diversity in the medium. You could do worse than to check this out.
Age Rating: N/A
Released By: Archie
Release Date: March 11th, 2015