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‘Betty & Veronica by Adam Hughes’ TP (review)

Betty & Veronica
Script: Adam Hughes
Art: Adam Hughes,
Jose Villarrubia, Jack Morelli

Cover: Adam Hughes
104 pp, Full Color
Released 11/8/17

The legendary frenemies of Archie are back, and while they have never looked better, it seems that the both Betty and Veronica have fallen into old habits. Bad habits.

Adam Hughes brings his pin-up style of art to Bets and Ronnie, using his signature cupcake approach on the femme fatales of Riverdale High.

The boy from Riverside gives the gals from Riverdale a cheesecake makeover, as Lady Lodge dons a distinct Bettie Page flavor while Bettie Cooper takes on a Carroll Baker flair.

Bettie, Veronica, and most of the gals in the comic pays appear to have walked off the pages of a Gil Elvgren sketch, littering the booths of Pop’s with their ruby red lips, Bettie bangs and enough curves for days. Also present is Hughes’ signature thick, inky black lines used to highlight the gentle pastels of the book. The overall effect is a peek into the past, rather than the ramped up modern romp from TV’s Riverdale.

Fans of the primetime soap will be disappointed to find the folks of Riverdale High have assumed their classic character personalities, including an asexual Jughead, a rough-and-tumble tomboy Bettie and a snobby Veronica. However, since the actors of the show were loosely based on the character traits of the classic comic teens, the few fragments of shared temperaments remain. Such as Betty’s need to save Pop’s from the verge of destruction.

Thus we have our plot point: The Chok’lit Shoppe is about to fall victim to corporate greed and it is up to the gang to save the beloved after-school hangout.

Well, at least most of them.

But in this scenario, Veronica is back to her double-crossing scheming ways of yore. Rather than the former mean girl with the heart of gold, readers are given a bitch with daddy’s gold card.

Narrated by a scholarly Hot Dog who tramples the fourth wall, the book’s romp in the day of the life of “normal” teens is a blast from the past, using the familiar set up and story arcs from the Archie comics of yesteryear.

Despite their update wardrobe and classic pin-up appeal, the kids of Riverdale show no evidence of the recent growth their characters have achieved over the past decade, be it through the revamped Archie titles, Afterlife with Archie or CW’s Riverdale.

So, while the book looks lush, filled with a soft pallet that highlights the classic style of the character’s origins, the story is somewhat basic. A classic Archie tale for a generation raised on a Riverdale overrun by the walking dead and a hot, angsty Jughead who dates a Betty with a dark side.

In other words: A bit boring.

This is a traditional Archie comic in every sense of the word. It almost pays tribute to the classic books of yore with a classic story and a classic look. And while it is fun to watch Betty sort of cuss, it bring nothing to the table in terms of the Archie universe. In the end, the reader is left with a very pretty looking comic that recalls the very reason why Archie Comics had to change their business model.


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