Review by Will Morgan
After a long-anticipated job interview, Fred Andrews, father of Archie, comes home with a classic Good News, Bad News scenario. The good news is that he’s received a very lucrative promotion, and the family is going to be much better off than before.
The bad news? The job vacancy is not only out of town, but out of state, in the distant town of Martinsville. If Fred accepts the position, he and the family will have to relocate, and say goodbye to the lifelong friends they’ve made in Riverdale!
This comes as a shock to Archie, and to Fred’s wife Mary, but it’s a devastating blow to Betty Cooper, the girl-next-door who was invited to the celebratory or consolation (as appropriate) dinner. Archie, the love of Betty’s young life, and the object of her eternal friendly rivalry with Veronica, may well be leaving her life!
The focus of one of these New Look stories is finally on the titular star of the Archie line, and we’re given a great deal of Archie’s interior monologue – as well as a closer-than-usual look at his parents and the familial relationship – in one of the more interesting scripts of Melanie Morgan’s short reign as New Look maestro. As the Andrews’ explore the far-away mythical town of Martinsville, and interact with its curiously familiar residents, Morgan taps into the appeal of Riverdale’s eternal American ideal.
The true revelation here is the art of Norm Breyfogle. Most famous for his work on Batman and associated titles in the ’80s and ’90s, he turns his hand to a lighter style here, and gives us the most successful New Look visuals to date. Yes, he does rely overly on round eyes and a gaping mouth to convey surprise, and in a story where so many people are repeatedly surprised, this does leave one feeling a little like one is browsing through a rack of inflatable sex dolls. But when he’s not doing that, his stylised enhancement and elaboration of the traditional Archie style is very engaging.
‘Goodbye Forever’ is the final New Look story to be collected in paperback. As such, it’s a quietly charming and appropriate Goodbye Forever to the New Look experiment. For the completist, two more stories were serialised in the Archie Digests – ‘Reggie: A Funny Kind of Love’ and Betty in ‘No Baseball for Betty’, but the idea was deemed to have run its course before their re-release.