BETTY AND VERONICA VIXENS #1 by Jamie Lee Rotante, Eva Cabrera, and Elaina Unger
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
BETTY AND VERONICA VIXENS #1 is a comic that feels old and new at the same time. Its refreshing design and memorable characters keep the formula that made them famous.
85 %
Thriller for the whole gang!

You know what the ARCHIE comics need more of? Street gangs. Yeah! Think about it — it would add so much drama to this world. And, according to Reggie in BETTY AND VERONICA VIXENS #1, joining a gang is as easy as just saying you’re in one. No prior illegal activity required. Yet despite this naive view on how gangs operate, BETTY AND VERONICA VIXENS #1 is a wonderful change to the usual Archie format. Written by Jamie Lee Rotante with art from Eva Cabrera and Elaina Unger, this all-new story is a delight for any fans of the dynamic duo that is Betty and Veronica.

What Could Possibly Make The Girls Go Rebels in BETTY AND VERONICA VIXENS #1?

This first installment tells us the origins of the biker gang B and Vee lead. The kids at Riverdale High are getting ready for the school’s Spring Fling Dance. It’s Betty’s turn to be dating Archie, and as such, Reggie Mantle is harassing Veronica into going to the dance with him. During his attempts at flirtation, we learn that Reggie has started a gang seeing as how it’s “all the rage” for kids these days. It’s so hip, even Archie has gotten in on the fun. In order to convince Betty that their gang activity and bike riding is safe, Archie and Reggie take Betty and Veronica to Spotty’s, a biker bar. There, they meet some less-than-friendly faces and force Betty and Veronica to spring into action.

Probably the strangest thing about this comic is how it incorporates gang activity. ARCHIE now has one real “gang” in its canon: the Southside Serpents. While the Serpents have no trouble causing havoc on tv, this’ll be their first real comic book appearance. While they lack some of the intensity the show RIVERDALE gave them, their antics fit the theme of the comic well. The only real plot point that seems strange is how the girls begin their gang in the first place.

BETTY AND VERONICA VIXENS #1
Courtesy of Archie Comics

In many ways, Betty and Veronica start the gang due to the actions of their male companions. While it is a mild dream to see the two in these rougher settings, I couldn’t help but feel a tad disappointed that the boys were the main drive behind it. For a comic with Betty and Veronica’s names on top of it, there just seemed to be a lot of the boys’ drama instead. Their motivation fits the story that’s being told, yet this kind of story is something that’s been done before.

50’s Throwback, Not Just Aesthetically

The girls’ personalities shine through quite well in this new series. Betty comes in full force as the “good girl next door,” a trope the series often puts her in. While the comic doesn’t attempt to comment on the trope itself, it does a good job embracing it to its extreme. There are scenes of Betty mother-henning the others that add to the nostalgic feel the entire comic gives off. On the exact opposite of the spectrum, Veronica acts much more to her traditional “wild girl” appearance. She’s not only ready to join the boys on their motorcycle adventures, but she’s prepared for them as well.

While it’s fun seeing the characters act this way, it also came across as odd to me. With all the progress Archie Comics made in adding dimensions to these girls, this portrayal seems just watered down compared to the main series. Maybe their characterization will change in later issues, but as it stands, it just isn’t enough.

BETTY AND VERONICA VIXENS #1
Courtesy of Archie Comics

I was blown away by Eva Cabrera’s style. It’s an interesting fusion of retro and modern aesthetics. The clothes all the characters wear could easily fit into any early ARCHIE comic, yet the character designs are all new. Granted, some people might need some time to adjust to the look. I know I wasn’t entirely sold on it when I first started reading it. They looked like a weird fusion of older anime styles with western comic art. Yet this style let Cabrera do something great with the work — she could make them expressive. All of the characters display such a wide range of emotions with even the subtlest adjustment in an eyebrow.

BETTY AND VERONICA VIXENS #1 might not be everyone’s Archie comic. It’s different enough stylistically that some long-time fans might be skeptical of it. Yet I’m happy to report that those longing for the genuine classic ARCHIE COMICS will enjoy this story. Though it certainly repaints the iconic girls as biker chicks, it’s still wholesome Archie to the core.

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