Betty & Veronica #1 – “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” | Story and Art by: Adam Hughes | Coloring by: José Villarrubia | Lettering by: Jack Morelli
When I read Archie Comics as a kid, I always rooted for Veronica. Then again, I think I generally root for “the bad girl,” which is something I should probably bring up to my therapist. Anyway, what I remember from those stories are not specific storylines, just that Betty and Veronica were always at odds and it was usually over Archie.
The current Archie series by Mark Waid (which is excellent), sees the two in more modern times, but also still not friends. And though their feud there is a bit more nuanced than both liking the same guy, Archie plays a central figure between them. What I enjoyed most about this new series by Adam Hughes was that it begins with the two as friends with no real signs of issues between them.
The story is narrated by J. Farnsworth Wigglebottom III, Jughead’s dog. This pooch has a better vocabulary than most people with a Master’s degree. It begins on a fall afternoon with the four friends, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, and Archie headed to Pop’s. The constants in their personalities and relationships are still there: Jughead and Archie share an easy shorthand which shows a deep and long friendship; Jughead really enjoys food; Betty is loyal, fierce, and loves her town; and Veronica is… well, in her old little world.
A near-death experience with a coffee truck sends Veronica straight to her smartphone so she can demand her father buy the company and terminate everyone. Most people would just fire off a strongly-worded review on Yelp, but this is Veronica Lodge here. When the quartet get to Pop’s, they discover the diner is closing due to being bought by the same company which owns the bank on his loan. They’re not interested in working out any deals. They want to shut down the local haven and make way for a Starbuck’s-like coffee chain.
Sensing the problem yet? Keep going.
Betty jumps into action, rallying her friends to raise the $60,000 necessary to save Pop’s. Throughout, Veronica remains distant and uninvolved. It all comes together when the gang learns Lodge Industries owns Kweekwegs Koffee, the chain replaced Pop’s. Was this is an unintended consequence of Veronica’s overreaction? If so, why is Veronica so confrontational and apologetic?
Besides capturing the unique small-town of Riverdale, Hughes’ art and Villarrubia’s colors make the issue feel like a comic book of old, and it felt like I was reading an actual paper issue instead of a digital one on the iPad. That was refreshing.
Issue # 2, “The Misses of October” should shed a little light on what Veronica’s thinking and Betty’s next move. “The Misses of October” is on sale now, and the review will be up this weekend.
Betty & Veronica #1 = 9.5