Graphic Novel Review – Archie Comics – “Betty and Veronica” by Adam Hughes


“Betty and Veronica”
by
Adam Hughes


Library
Graphic Novel
Strong Female Leads
Female Cattiness


It’s Betty vs. Veronica! The most highly-anticipated reboot in comics history is here! Betty and Veronica are America’s sweethearts – until they turn on each other! Pops’ Chocklit Shoppe is being taken over by a huge coffee company. When Betty and Veronica go head-to-head over the issue, all bets are off! Friendships will shatter. Cities will burn. Nails will be broken. Betty and Veronica are back in this all-new collection from comics legend Adam Hughes (Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan)

I had wanted to read something that was in this newer “Riverdale” type of style that Archie Comics has decided to take on for a few of their titles. It seemed natural that I would pick a title with the two girls that are heavily featured, so it was either “Betty” or “Veronica” and of course, I forgot they had “Betty and Veronica” as a title. I was pleased to find that they had done a 3 issue series of this old title. It was done by Adam Hughes that is somewhat known within the comic book industry, especially by me since I loved his work on Catwoman. I was prepared to jump right into this when I checked it out from Hoopla, the app that lets you check out various media from your library card. 

This is again only 3 issues, so it is a relatively quick read. The synopsis above gives away a lot of what these three issues are. It is basically Betty and Veronica going at it because each are on opposite sides of closing down the malt shoppe. If you know anything about Archie Comics you know that Pops’ is a frequent feature in these stories, so I won’t explain it too much past that it is a restaurant in Riverdale that the kids hang out at (for those that don’t read the books). To tell you much more would start to give up details that would definitely be spoilery. 

The thing that I have always loved about Archie Comics is that they have that child-like feel to them. They are simplistic stories that you can hand over to a child and they will love them. This doesn’t feel like that. This is something else. This took away most of the elements that I loved about Archie Comics and seemed to almost spit on them or use them in a way that made me feel well UNCLEAN! Suddenly we have Jughead’s dog, Hot Dog, narrating the story for us (an overused cliche utilized in many Archie titles), but the artwork is so overly stylized to a point that it takes away from the overall story being told. Also while I mentioned the story let me tell you: DRAMA CENTRAL! This title was overly dramatic, which I think is what Archie titles are now catering towards. It just felt wrong, for me. It felt like it was taking something I loved in my childhood and saying “bahahaha, lets do everything we can to destroy this for you.” I don’t often feel this way with comics because they have been doing this to me for years now (Scarlet Witch going crazy, Donna Troy is a villain and then she is not but then she is again but not really, and WHERE IS JULIA CARPENTER IN MARVEL??). I usually can deal with it, but there are some things that are sacred and I wanted to scream the entire time I was reading this. 

Let me also discuss, briefly, about the way that the characters are presented. This takes that idea of female cattiness to extremes. You know where females can’t be friends, that concept seems to be running rampid within this title. Betty and Veronica start off as friends, but it quickly escalates into what most of us would only naturally see as two females going at each other for almost no reason at all. It didn’t feel natural, especially the characterization of Veronica. Yes, Veronica is a bit of a mean girl from time to time because of being rich, but she still always had a heart. Here she is presented for most of the pages as evil and conniving. This did not endear her to my heart or make me remember a character that I dearly loved from my past. While by the end we get everything wrapped up in a nice bow (I won’t spoiler more than that) it just felt inauthentic and a nod to that simplicity of Archie titles, but it was too much by the point they used it. You can’t ask for a simple wrap-up when you have literally overdramatized everything to that point. Give us a real big ending since you are going in that direction instead of petering out at the end.

While I did not like this title, I would give some of the other updated titles a chance. This also does not put me off Hughes works by any means. He is a great artist and writer, but sometimes particular companies and wheelhouses are simply not where someone belongs. They limit the creativity because you have to follow certain set guidelines and rules. I feel that this is the case with him and this particular book. He doesn’t belong in Archie Comics rule set. I would recommend trying out some of the other updated titles before starting with this one. “Archie” may be a better jumping on point. I will have to read and find out. This may be an “August” title for review then. 😉

Archie comics has launched several comics that are in a new “bold style” and “Betty and Veronica” is just one of those books steering away from the original style that was more children friendly. The first book that introduced this newer style was “Archie.” This choice to go in this more dramatic and stylistic manner seems to originate with the show “Riverdale” that is on the CW network.


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