Comics – Last Dance!

Betty-and-Veronica-278
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica, No. 278
Cover Date: December, 2015
On-Sale Date: October 21, 2015
Length: 20 pages

I’m sorry that this is a bit late. I’ve decided to take a look at the final issue of Betty and Veronica before the (now-infamous) New Riverdale reboot. This was actually the final regular Classic Archie issue that was released in floppy format, and it came out after New Riverdale had already begun with the Archie reboot, because the multi-part story that immediately preceded this issue had suffered delays.

*looks at the release date* Why didn’t Marty snag a copy of this when he visited the future? He could have avoided a lot of problems.

There were six covers released: one for each decade from the 1950s (when the original title started) through the 1990s and a modern cover. Heh, I guess there’s nothing to distinguish the 2000s from the 2010s.

The 625 figure was arrived at by adding the total number of issues of the previous series (which was rebooted in 1987) and this series, which makes sense, but keep in mind that B&V have also headlined a 90-issue Betty and Veronica Spectacular series (1992-2009), a 6-issue Betty and Veronica Summer Fun annual series (1994-1999), and various issues of the long-running Archie Giant Series Magazine.

Veronica and Betty overhear Mr. Weatherbee telling Ms. Grundy in a hallway that they’ll have a new gym as of next year. After Betty asks, Mr. Weatherbee says, in two months, the gym will be demolished, so they can expand the cafeteria.

Some random girl with red hair and freckles shows up behind him and waves. I think this is Cricket O’Dell, a minor character whose gimmick is the ability to determine the exact amount of money that one is carrying simply by smell. Yeah, it’s as stupid as it sounds. Why she’s showing up here for one panel, I have no idea.

Anyway, Ms. Grundy adds a brand new gym will be built on the other side of the school. Veronica loves it, but Betty doesn’t, because she loves the current gym and has good memories, such as playing basketball and tennis. Veronica says “bully for you”, which no teen would actually say. She says the only sport that she took up was cheerleading. Betty reminds her of the dances; they each had their first dance with Archie here during freshman year (it was the same dance), which means they didn’t date until high school. Archie hid from them under the bleachers, and Reggie closed them up, trapping Archie inside. There was also an ’80s-themed dance (Archie tried to breakdance, got sick, and threw up on Cheryl).

Kevin randomly walks by. Betty realizes Archie was date-juggling them that night, too. Veronica says he’s sometimes a three-timer, and Betty remembers Archie’s also dating Valerie (I would have thought of Cheryl first, but the comics want to remind us that Archie/Valerie has been a thing for a while). Archie three-timed them at a dance, and he got exposed only when they looked at the wall of prom photos (which were posted during the prom). The three girls confronted Archie. Veronica angrily asks why they always forgive him. Betty laughs and says “Because he’s Archie!”, and that’s a good enough “explanation” for Veronica.

Betty asks about the upcoming Halloween masquerade ball. Ms. Grundy says that will be the last dance held here and tells the girls to make it a good one. After a bit of talking, Veronica decides to turn the tables by having them both ask Archie (before he asks both of them) and watching him squirm. Betty’s up for it.

Some time later, at Pop’s, Veronica asks Archie to the dance and then immediately kisses him on the lips (surprising Kevin), guaranteeing his acceptance. She tells him to pick her up at 8:00 PM…for a dance that’s being held “in a few weeks”.

Some time later, Betty meets Archie outside and asks him to the dance. He’s hesitant, so she kisses him on the lips, leaving him in a daze. She tells him to pick her up at 8:00 PM…for a dance that’s being held “in a few weeks”. He agrees and then realizes what he’s done.

At Pop’s, Ethel tries to get Jughead to go to the dance with her, but he’s oblivious (even though he is going for the memories of the food and drink). Some girl that I can’t identify sees Dilton lamenting his lack of dates, so she vows to “take care of that”. Outside, Kevin accepts the invitation of a guy named Ted. Veronica asks Kevin what happened to Devon (maybe a guy from a previous issue), but Kevin’s over him.

Later, Jughead asks Archie about his costume, and Archie says he needs two and explains his problem. Jughead suggests Archie go with one of them, but Archie laughs off the “ridiculous” and “insane” idea. I don’t know if I’ve said it enough, but Archie truly is an ass in the comics.

On the night of the dance, Archie drives to Betty’s house in a Cosmo the Merry Martian costume, reasoning he’ll pick up Betty early and Veronica late, because Veronica is “always late, anyway”.

Betty, wearing a Pussycat outfit, sees Archie arrive and tells Veronica, who’s dressed as Elvira. Veronica tells Betty to delay him. When Archie arrives, Betty says she won’t be ready for “at least twenty minutes” and tells him to sit and relax.

Fifteen minutes later, an “impatient” Veronica calls Archie, Betty comes downstairs, and hijinx ensue as Archie tries to cover his ass. Betty has a good laugh all of the way to the dance.

At the dance, Archie promptly ditches Betty to “use the restroom”. He runs outside, turns his Cosmo mask inside out to become Super Duck, and goes to pick up Veronica.

At Lodge Manor, Veronica is “pissed”. As Archie drives them to the school, Veronica makes him sweat by asking about Betty.

At the dance, Archie wants to go in through the other entrance, because “the air is better there”. Once inside, Archie gives her the “restroom” excuse and ditches her.

He switches back to Cosmo and returns to a “pissed” Betty. They start dancing, and she loves that he’s so nervous. Betty decides to go for punch, but Archie sees Veronica at the table and volunteers to get it. He tries to switch to Super Duck in the middle of the fucking gym, but he gets stuck.

Veronica and Betty confront him and then prepare to “fight” each other. Archie tries to intervene, trips, and falls face-first into the punch bowl. He tries to explain, but the girls reveal they played him. He’s pissed that they “humiliated” him, but they’re enjoying it. I’m with the girls. Archie would have done this even if the girls had independently asked him to the dance.

Cheryl shows up, dressed as Cleopatra, and wants to dance with Archie. Veronica angers her, but Betty tells Veronica to step away. This reminds Betty of “the first time” that they “went up against Cheryl” (entirely made up for this story). Cheryl had spilled punch on Betty’s dress. Betty had cried to Veronica. Veronica had dumped the rest of the punch from the bowl on Cheryl’s head. Betty calls Veronica her “princess in shining armor”.

Veronica brings up Betty comforting her after she realized her crush, Kevin, was gay. I don’t believe that happened in his debut issue, but she could have had a delayed reaction to the revelation.

Veronica then brings up Betty flipping Jason onto his head using her mad judo skills after he kept pursuing Veronica.

Betty and Veronica bond over the power of friendship. Archie asks them to dance, but they decline, and Veronica even suggests Archie dance with Cheryl, Ginger, or Brigitte. Archie is a bit confused but walks off.

Veronica and Betty go outside for some fresh air. As they watch the dance from outside (Archie’s dancing with both Cheryl and (I think) Ginger, the latter seemingly dressed as an alien princess or something, and Jughead is a mummy with a huge stack of hamburgers), Veronica laments the impending loss of the gym but then says they still have each other and their friends. Betty adds their memories, the future, and Archie.

As they sit on the ground and look at the crescent moon, Betty suggests being BFFs forever. They do a fist bump, and Veronica agrees, adding “Some things will never change!”

And so the long-running Betty and Veronica title, the last, straggling Classic Archieverse floppy title, came to an end. This wasn’t a bad story to go out on. It’s nothing really special, but it does re-affirm the girls’ friendship.

On the final page is an ad for the issue that we just read (an odd thing that appeared in issues around that time). The blurb explains the math of 625, name-drops Memory Lane (a stupid time-travel plot device from a few years earlier that doesn’t show up here), advertises the multiple covers, and misuses the term “panoramic”.

Below that is “breaking news” for the new B&V series from Adam Hughes. It promises “some out-of-town adventures”. Yeah, that never happened.

On the inside-front cover is a letter from Editor-in-Chief Victor Gorelick. He’s been at the company for a long time, and his Editor’s Notebook entries were something that I loved to read, but they’d been discontinued for years by this point. So what does he have to say? He explains the 625 math and hawks the Adam Hughes relaunch. Below the letter is yet another reminder of the Adam Hughes relaunch.

As for the Adam Hughes relaunch, we all know that crashed and burned after three issues. I read only the first two issues, and I’d given up on buying physical comics entirely by the time that issue #3 was farted out, so I never read the conclusion. Here’s the basic gist. Pop’s is being closed, and Veronica’s dad is behind it. This pits Betty and Veronica against each other. Betty is unusually passionate about Pop’s and randomly kicks her friends’ asses (I’m going from memory, but there was at least one random ass-kicking involved). The issues were narrated by Jughead’s dog, Hot Dog (of all possible fucking narrators). He kept using big words to sound intellectual and shit. At one point, a “gag” consisted of the action from two of the pages being entirely missing, and Betty and Veronica lay around in swimsuits against a white background, reading the comic and summarizing the missing pages to each other; there was also a comment about two pages being missing from a $4 comic book. From what I’ve gathered, the final issue had the girls revealing it was all for show, and they are and always will be best friends. Yeah, it totally doesn’t fit with the previous two issues, and I don’t buy the story that this was what Adam Hughes had in mind all along. This series seems doomed from the start, especially since Archie Comics had originally launched a Kickstarter campaign on (circa) May 11, 2015, to fund it, Jughead, and Life with Kevin – and then quickly canceled the campaign by May 15 after criticism (but not before they’d raised $30,000 of their $350,000 goal). I won’t be reviewing these issues in full; they don’t deserve it. Betty & Veronica: Vixens has the girls forming a biker gang, and it’s already a much better B&V title than Hughes’ shit.

Tune in next Wednesday!

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Author: markmooreauthor

I love watching anime and superhero movies, and I love playing video games. I also write fan fiction and original fiction.

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