We've known for a few months now that Archie Comics' Life With Archie series, about the possible adult lives of the Riverdale teens, will end with lead character Archie Andrews' death. Life With Archie #36 hits stands this week, and thanks to an interview with Archie publisher Jon Goldwater for the AP, we now know that this is where Archie meets his end -- and we know how it will happen.

Readers who don't want to know too many specifics before the issue goes on sale should avoid reading any further, and perhaps also avoid the comics sections of the internet entirely for a couple of days.

According to the AP story, Archie Andrews will die stepping in the path of a bullet meant for his friend Kevin Keller, a newly elected U.S. senator who stood on a gun control platform.

"The way in which Archie dies is everything that you would expect of Archie," Goldwater told the AP. "He dies heroically. He dies selflessly. He dies in the manner that epitomizes not only the best of Riverdale but the best of all of us. It's what Archie has come to represent over the past almost 75 years."

The story offers a bitter resolution to events that ran through Life With Archie for more than a year, as Kevin Keller's husband Clay was shot trying to prevent a robbery in Life With Archie #23. This shooting was a catalyst for Keller's gun control advocacy and political aspirations. Archie's sacrifice isn't just a moment of heroism; it offers an unambiguous condemnation of America's lax gun laws.

 

 

It's not surprising to see Archie Comics tackling such a serious issue -- as we mentioned last week in our analysis of the publisher's new Dark Circle superhero line, the publisher doesn't shy away from risky ideas. Despite overwhelming support for more restrictive gun laws in the U.S., America's powerful gun lobby has been highly effective in setting the terms of the debate and browbeating politicians against action.

The identity of the assassin has not been revealed, but may not be a returning character. Life With Archie #36, by writer Paul Kupperberg, and artists Fernando Ruiz, Pat Kennedy, Tim Kennedy, Jack Morelli, Rosario Peña, Gary Martin, Bob Smith and Jim Amash, is available online and in stores this Wednesday. Next month's final issue of the series will deal with the aftermath of Archie's death.