Hey, all, D.C. here. It’s been a while (training, work, and general chaos), but I’ve finally managed to get back here for a throwdown. I feel like sharing my thoughts on this bit:
I was a huge Archie fan in my youth, and was very interested in checking out the revival by Archie Comics. I’ve yet to pick up the first volume of Archie, so in the meantime, I decided to look at the next best thing: Adam Hughes’ Betty & Veronica #1.
For those unfamiliar–and I might have to kill you for being unfamiliar–Betty and Veronica are just part of the Riverdale gang in the Archie universe. Back in the day, the stories were set in a 1950-ish town with a 1950-ish feel. Tomboy Betty Cooper and spoiled rich girl Veronica Lodge are mainstays of the Riverdale gang, along with Archie Andrews, Jughead Jones, and others. As the title implies, Betty & Veronica focuses on these two ladies.
Adam Hughes certainly portrays the characters well, and that works for any reader of the old Archie comics. I don’t recall Betty being so tomboyish and strong, but it definitely works for her this time around. She is still a charming young woman underneath that fierceness. Veronica is still the same vivacious, conniving and unapologetic person I remember. Everyone else is as they had traditionally been, all with a more modern feel.
The colors used throughout this issue really gives the feeling of autumn (which, I assume, was the setting season), and that was a very good feeling.
I liked how the comedy in this new series keeps the essence of the old Archie comics, but with a more modern, yet similarly over-the-top display. The Hughes used Betty’s tomboyish, dynamic persona to comedic effect. I enjoyed scenes like this in particular.
Another hilarious section, though lengthy, was the obvious jab the book took at itself through the protagonists when a page was “missing.” There’s nothing better than a book that insults itself from time to time.
The story and dialogue presented was silly, and not the good kind of silly. Granted, I found parts of the dialogue very comical, especially the narration by Hot Dog. The gang’s dialogue together as a whole didn’t sit too well with me. It felt too “rara,” if that makes any sense. I might have missed that as a child, but I don’t remember the Riverdale gang being so ridiculously idealistic and naive.
Betty’s over-the-top speeches about saving Pop’s diner sat even worse with me, but I’ve always disliked the idea of kids thinking they can solve real adult problems like a restaurant’s foreclosure. It just doesn’t make sense, but I’m sure that’s supposed to be silly. Still, it was something that chipped at the charm I felt Betty exudes.
While the art was mostly good, there were some portions that just screamed ugliness. Some hiccups included Midge and Archie’s faces on the same page. Midge looked so manly, and Archie looked inexplicably old. Not older..OLD. Thankfully, these were truly hiccups in the issue. An artist isn’t always perfect, not always uniform, so I can overlook this.
Betty & Veronica definitely is a good nod back to the classic Archie, but with a more modern take. Adam Hughes really knows how to make the characters as comical, ridiculous, and endearing as they were decades ago. The art is mostly good and smooth with an innocent and comedic feel. The silliness in some of the dialogue may work for some, but I was not particularly fond of it. Still, this is only the first issue, and the way things ended made me want to give more time to this series. I’ll definitely pick up issue #2.