In the world of Archie, everybody is frozen in time. Archie is a perpetually broke klutz. Moose is a big dumb lug. And Reggie Mantle is a jerk, a prank-pulling narcissist who doesn’t think of anybody but Reggie. However, as part of Archie’s ongoing campaign to give their stable of characters more depth, the miniseries Reggie & Me, which finishes today, offers more of an explanation as to why Reggie’s such an ass, while not letting him off the hook.
Granted, writer Tom DeFalco has been unapologetic in his plot device: The story is told from the perspective of Reggie’s dog, Vader, which might be the only creature he truly loves, and loves him in return. Really, who else could love such a guy? But, in the last issue, Vader got hit by a car, and the issue unfolds with Vader on the table, his potential ghost floating around Reggie, as he’s challenged to explain how he could love such a complete turd of a person.
Shameless? Oh, absolutely, and DeFalco makes no bones about it. Sandy Jarrell’s clean art just underscores it, as Vader is an adorable weiner dog. But it also manages the impressive task of explaining Reggie’s actions and motives without forgiving him. Reggie is still kind of a dirtbag, and a lot of his pain is his own fault. But DeFalco makes the gentle point that Rome isn’t built in a day, and owning your mistakes is the first step to being a better person. Which Reggie has no intention of being, but hey, baby steps.