The Girl Next Door and the Richest Girl In Town have more in common than even they know (even taking into account their taste in boys.) But can they find a way to coexist? Your Major Spoilers review of Betty & Veronica #1 awaits!
Previously in Betty & Veronica: In the original stories, they’ve been best friends since childhood, always having each others’ back, only clashing over their mutual love of one goofy redheaded teenage boy.
THE NEW RIVERDALE
I have been looking forward to this book, mostly because of how much fun the new takes on Archie and especially Jughead have been, putting the Archie gang in a whole new context for new readers. This issue kicks off well, with a lot of fun interplay and dialogue between Archie and Jughead (discussing whether Ronald McDonald could beat the Burger King in a fight), leading us right up to the discussion of whether Betty or Veronica would win a fight.
This is called foreshadowing. Using the device of narration by Hot Dog, Jughead’s faithful companion canine/walking mop, we get a lot of truly cute moments with the core four characters of Riverdale, including feats of strength by Betty, Veronica’s truly epic snide remarks, and the revelation that Pop’s Diner is going to be shut down, again.
SOME CLEVER STUFF
Pops spends some time entertainingly wondering how he became cursed, and even Jughead points out that the Chock’lit Shoppe being endangered is a repeated theme in their lives, but Betty has a plan to save the day, which brings us to the final page reveal of the true culprit behind the acquisition of Pop’s. Adam Hughes’ art is very pleasant here, although I’m not entirely in love with the pencil-style look of the finished art, with low-contrast blacks. The muted color palette works better for me, heavy on earth-tones and the occasional pastel, emphasizing a real-world feel for the new Riverdale. The one big negative for me comes in a joke halfway through, wherein Hot Dog reveals that he accidentally ate the art for pages 19 & 20, but that B&V have agreed to summarize them for readers, while wearing swimsuits. I think it’s a meta-joke about the worry that Hughes’ art would turn this comic into a pin-up book (something that actually doesn’t happen, even with a joke about Betty’s chest and the relatively tame swimsuit page) but as one of the people who actually had that worry, it’s a joke that falls really flat for me.
THE BOTTOM LINE: HAS ITS MOMENTS
All in all, though, this is a solid issue, setting up conflict between our teenage protagonists, allowing Arch and Juggie to see once and for all whether Betty’s well-scrubbed Midwestern tomboy attitude is up to Veronica’s cold-hearted Metropolitan ice queen facade. Betty & Veronica #1 isn’t quite as assured as the previous ‘New Riverdale’ books, and it takes a pretty big narrative spill on page 19, but manages to get back up and stick the landing for a well-drawn 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. As long as this arc keeps in mind that these are high school kids (and also, that the entire series isn’t going to be about the ladies fighting, because that can’t be the WHOLE BOOK), there’s room for this to become as good an ongoing series as Jughead or Archie…