• Betty & Veronica #1

    Betty & Veronica #1
    Released by: Archie Comics
    Released on: July 20th, 2016.
    Written And Illustrated by: Adam Huges
    Purchase From Amazon

    The first issue of this new Betty And Veronica series, written and illustrated by renowned ‘good girl artist’ Adam Hughes, opens with a pretty dramatic splash page in which Riverdale’s two leading ladies are going at it tooth and nail in the middle of a high school dance. Our trusty narrator, none other than J. Farnsworth Wigglebottom III, Hot Dog himself, takes us back in time six weeks to fill us in on how this scrap-tastic opening scene came to be.

    Archie and Jughead are strolling around town on a fine fall day discussing ‘who would win in a fight’ lineups like Santa Claus versus the Easter Bunny, Reggie versus Moose and, maybe not so surprisingly, Betty against Veronica. As they round the corner, they meet the girls themselves – Betty is doing some yard work for Mee-Maw while Veronica lounges about and watches. The guys ask them to head over to Pop’s with them for a bite to eat and as the due turns into a quartet and saunters off for a snack, the girls fill the guys in on the upcoming Halloween dance.

    Then just like that a coffee truck zips past them, knocking the four to the ground (and allowing our humble narrator to offer some background information on each of the key players in this scenario, describing Veronica as an ‘unknowable quantity, an x-factor!’). But getting back to the dance, the girls are chairing it, it’s to raise some money for charity and they think maybe there should be a theme. Before they can sort that out, however, they arrive at Pop’s only to find that there’s a ‘CLOSING SOON’ sign hanging in the window. He’s being bought out by a big coffee franchise – he’s cursed he tells the kids! If he doesn’t come up with the remainder of his mortgage in six weeks he’ll be foreclosed on by the bank… which the Kweekweg’s Koffee chain recently bought!

    Betty refuses to let this happen. She’s going to rally the troops and come up with a plan to save the place and the upcoming dance might be the perfect way to do it. But Veronica, she’s acting a bit weird about all of this…

    Hughes artwork is just as great as you’d expect. He’s always had a very clean style of line work and that works really well here. It won’t shock anyone to learn that he draws the titular characters with a bit more sex appeal than they’ve had in the past, but this done with a sense of humor and it never crosses into bad taste at all (even the self-acknowledged gratuitous swimsuit scene is done with a wink and a nod). The coloring, from Jose Villarrubia, complements the artwork wonderfully, lots of orange and brown hues bringing Riverdale’s fall foliage to life quite nicely. As to Hughes’ story, it’s surprisingly poignant in an era where corporations seem to routinely shut down mom and pop (Ha!.. or maybe AH!?) businesses, so there’s a bit of social commentary here. For the most part, however, this sticks to the basic core of the characters as previously established in the Archie Comics universe and plays things very effectively for laughs. This is a witty, clever and genuinely funny book so far, with Hot Dog’s verbose narration providing an amusing contrast to the more casual and frequently slang laden dialogue used by his owner and his pals.

    This is off to a great start – it ends with a fun cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more. Hughes was a great choice for this series and it’ll be a blast to see where he takes it in the coming months. Smart, sexy and undeniably fun this is one that Archie Comics fans old and new alike should snap up post haste!

    On top of that this first issue includes a cover gallery (showing off the seemingly countless variants made available for this first issue) an a ‘classic’ Berry and Veronica story written by Sy Reit and illustrated by Dan Decarlo and a classic pin up page also illustrated by Decarlo.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Huh, might check this out. I lost track of the whole horror Archie/Sabrina thing after being fairly interested in it, and this looks cool.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      It's seriously funny stuff and I love Hughes' artwork.