HARLEY & IVY MEET BETTY & VERONICA #1 By Paul Dini, Marc Andreyko, Laura Braga, Tony Aviña, and Arif Prianto
Not a perfect story for either property, but a fun enough ride to keep anyone mildly curious entertained.
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Honestly, the title of this book says it all. HARLEY & IVY MEET BETTY & VERONICA #1: two of the most iconic female duos in comic book history appearing side by side in this all-new crossover. The story comes to us from the minds of Paul Dini and Marc Andreyko, with art by Laura Braga and coloring from Tony Aviña and Arif Prianto. Together, these creators take on the ambitious project of doing justice to some of the most beloved characters in the medium — managing to hit some admirable highs yet not quite necessarily capturing the true essence of each character fully.

HARLEY & IVY MEET BETTY & VERONICA #1 and the Dangers of Capitalism

It takes extraordinary circumstances to get these dynamic duos together. Harley and Ivy don’t even consider Riverdale a place of interest; they practically run Gotham City after all. That is until Ivy sees an ad for Hiram Lodge’s, Veronica’s wealthy father,  latest capitalistic venture. He’s planning on draining the Sweetwater Swamp, home to many precious ecosystems, as Ivy points out, in order to build a university. While this might appear generous, for Lodge University will be free, the only degrees one might achieve are for things like foreclosure strategies and urban gentrification. Thus, Ivy and Harley set out to stop Lodge’s money-making scheme. Meanwhile, Betty and Veronica prepare for a Halloween dance. Betty can’t stand how Veronica convinces everyone that her father’s idea is a good one, and the two butt heads (much to the amusement of their classmates).

HARLEY & IVY MEET BETTY & VERONICA #1 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

With some of the most iconic women in graphic novel history coming together for this project, I was a bit disappointed as to how they acted with one another. Seeing Betty and Veronica fight like they did in older Archie comics felt like the writers ignoring character growth. Sure, they still bicker from time to time in modern interpretations, but it usually comes across as a much friendlier interaction. They’re not bitter enemies as Sabrina and Kevin expertly claim; they’re two strong women who don’t always see eye to eye.

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Yet, as much as that bothered me, I must give the title credit for not making Ivy and Harley the definitive villains of the piece. Ivy’s always been in the “technically right, but” space for me; a space delegated to those who take their arguably right worldviews to the illogical extreme. Another excellent part of the installment is the very tone of the issue. It knows it’s a silly crossover event and makes sure you know it as well. It’s light, like a bag of potato chips. Nothing overly substantial, but satisfying all the same.

Visually, this comic undoubtedly follows DC’s style. Laura Braga keeps it rather standard with her use of the more realistic character designs as opposed to Archie’s traditionally cartoony nature. Though truthfully, it’s kind of nice seeing these characters outside of their normal styles. While I would have preferred Harley and Ivy going more abstract for the heck of it all, it’s fun seeing Archie and the gang differ from their usual appearances.

HARLEY & IVY MEETS BETTY & VERONICA #1 page 6. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Costumed Conclusion

Honestly, that’s the only thing that stands out to me as distinctly DC about this issue. In terms of the tone, HARLEY & IVY MEET BETTY & VERONICA #1 comes across as way more ARCHIE-centric. The story follows primarily Archie characters with Ivy and Harley entering into their world. The banter between Betty and Veronica is far closer to ARCHIE’s style of writing, as opposed to DC’s less-silly conversations.

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If nothing else, it’s funny to see the two properties mesh together. Ungrounded in the reality of either series, HARLEY & IVY MEET BETTY & VERONICA #1 presents itself as a small flight of fancy for both DC and Archie Comics. If you enjoy watching two sets of women kicking ass and starring in their own comic, this little diddy is just for you!

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