Advance Review: Betty & Veronica – Vixens #1

Are you ready to see the wholesome Betty and her best frenemy Veronica in a totally different light?  Are ready to see the pair stand up to all the male stereotypes that they have ever faced?  Are you ready for the girls to start taking names and kicking ass?  If the answer to any of these questions then this new “almost them” reiteration of the wholesome twosome may well be right up your alley.

Ah good ole Riverdale.  Once a place where the biggest worry would be “can I get to the soda shop in time?”, now has to deal with another problem; the rebellion of youth.  It seems that Archie and Reggie, whilst out looking for kicks have started a biker gang of two.  Sick of being left on the side-lines, the girls join them for their latest sojourn across to the other side of the tracks.  However, thanks to Archie’s ramshackle home-made bike, he and Betty attract the attention of The Serpents.  Unfortunately, it seems that Archie and Reggie talk a much better game than they can play and it is up to Betty and Veronica to leather up and save the day.

Writer Jamie Lee Rotante serves up a story that has enough familiarities for fans of the Archie books, based in that it starts with Betty putting up with Archie’s shenanigans.  There is obviously a lot of thought and care gone into the book with Rotante trying hard to reshuffle the deck, but not too much.  With that in mind, the book is a bit of tightrope experience catering to the idea that the girls are now Vixens, yet keeping to the house style.  Overall, it works well enough.  I am sure that big fans of Archie will get a kick out of changes even if for some the changes do not go far enough.  Still, this is issue one so who knows what is around then next hairpin bend.

Eva Cabrera provides the art which allows the story, visually at least, to retain its Archie comic vibe.  Cabrera’s art is reminiscent of Babs Tarr’s work on Batgirl and maybe Chrissie Zullo’s  who produced a number of variant covers for last years Vampirella series from Dynamite.  Looking through the book for the first time, I was disappointed; never have I seen biker babes look less threatening and look so cute!  But upon reflection, I am going to give some benefit of the doubt to Cabrera; it would be easy to give the art a more adult feel, but then some people would say that it was just Betty and Veronica in name only.  So I guess Cabrera can’t win.  Like the words, the art has to straddle two worlds, the familiar and the not familiar and Cabrera along with colourist, Elaina Unger reside firmly in the familiar.

I am a little confused by the creators intent.  Are they trying to show that Betty and Veronica can be strong female characters?  If that’s the case, then why do they have emulate men?  Are they trying to be sexier than it’s core base? If so, why retain the Archie house style of art? Still, at the moment there is no doubt that there is a strength of appeal to all things Archie at the moment.  A resurgent comic book and the TV show Riverdale proves that the material is strong enough for multiple versions, with each one having their own fans.  This series may well act as a bridge between the more innocent books and the show, with it ambiguous moral code.

Writing – 3.5 Stars
Art – 3.5 Stars
Colors – 3.5 Stars

Written by; Jamie Lee Rotante
Art by; Eva Cabrera
Colors by; Elaina Unger
Published by; Archie Comics

Betty and Veronica: Vixens #1 hits the rack November 15th!
Diamond Order Code: SEP171182

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