Writer: Jamie Lee Rotante
Art: Eva Cabrera
Colors: Elaina Unger
Letters: Rachel Deering
Original Publication: Betty & Veronica: Vixens, No. 5
Cover Date: May, 2018
On-Sale Date: April 4, 2018
Length: 20 pages
How/Why is the gang’s photo in the newspaper?
Before the story, there’s a recap of the previous issue on the credits page.
There’s confusion over the first page again in this issue. The gang is roller skating. A caption informs us that someone says “These girls are my friends.” This is a quote from later in the story. I’m guessing these first pages are meant to be mood-setting or theme-setting, but they don’t really fit into the rest of the story.
The gang attends a roller derby at a place called Sugar’s Roller Rink for bonding and networking. Veronica explains what roller derbies are as they watch Cheryl play, except they don’t know it’s Cheryl, because they’re fucking dumbasses. Cheryl is a member of the Pembrooke Punishers team, and she goes by the name Scarlet O’Horror. She fights dirty. Veronica and Evelyn explain away their knowledge of roller derbies as simply being well-educated.
Outside, after the derby, Veronica further explains they’re here to connect with other strong ladies in the event that they’ll someday need help outside Riverdale. Cheryl skates by, and they suddenly recognize her, because…she has her helmet off. Cheryl calls Veronica Miss Vanity, a reference to Veronica’s super-villain alter ego in some old comics where they did weird shit like that. Cheryl insults their motorcycles, and Betty tells her to fuck off. Cheryl reveals she knows the girls’ secrets. Toni says they know her secret and wants to drop the subject, but Cheryl won’t leave it alone, because “that wouldn’t be any fun”.
Before Cheryl can tell Veronica what she wants, they witness some skateboarding assholes picking on a girl. The girl tries fighting back. Cheryl licks her lips and puts on her helmet, eager to kick some ass. The Vixens are pumped as well.
Betty, Cheryl, and Evelyn (perhaps with help from Toni) manage to defeat three of the four guys. The fourth guy just disappears.
Ethel tries to put the girl at ease. The girl thanks them and asks who they are. Ethel nearly reveals their secret, but Evelyn shuts her up. Toni gets a text and checks her cell phone. Cheryl skates over and just blurts out that they’re the Vixens, including herself in the gang. Ethel asks her how she knows that, and Cheryl has to re-explain how she pieced it together (basically, they’ve been neglecting their Vixens duties to be Vixens). She also points out that she never lets her hobby interfere with cheer practice. She wants in the gang (to her credit, she doesn’t even threaten to expose them), but Veronica tells her to fuck off. Betty wants to let Cheryl in on a trial basis, pointing out that Cheryl helped them out against those punks and is seemingly in it for the greater good. Veronica grudgingly agrees. Betty warns Cheryl against telling anyone or besmirching their name, threatening expulsion. Cheryl understands the message from her “boss” and tells the “birds” that she’ll seem them on Monday morning. She skates off, waving to them as she leaves. Veronica feels she’s going to regret this. Meanwhile, Toni gets on her bike and drives off, surprising the others.
As Toni rides, she’s talking with a girl named Ang, who needs her help, because some guy won’t leave her alone. The line goes dead. A black car follows Toni.
On Monday morning, at Riverdale High School, in Ms. Grundy’s class, Cheryl gabs to a guy about kicking ass over the weekend, earning her icy stares from Betty and Veronica, which makes her nervous.
In the crowded hallway, after class, Veronica says the Vixens don’t broadcast their good deeds. Um, you ain’t exactly being secretive, Ronnie, so shut the fuck up. Anyway, Cheryl asks what the point of doing this shit is if they can’t tell anyone. Betty asks Cheryl if she’s ever done anything selfless, not for recognition, and you can literally hear the crickets chirp…in the crowded hallway.
Toni walks by. Betty greets her, but Toni ignores her. Cheryl points out that that’s icy, and Toni finally asks what the fuck Betty wants. Betty is concerned, so Toni reveals her ex-girlfriend is in trouble. In tears, Toni says she doesn’t know where she is, but her asshole boyfriend’s been hurting her again. She tried to trace the call but couldn’t pinpoint the location. Cheryl says she can track the number, surprising Veronica. Cheryl reveals Blossom-Comm is the leader in the tech industry (nice nod to Classic Archie continuity, in which Clifford Blossom is a software engineer that owns a tech company) – and then amends it to “was”, giving Veronica some serious side-eye. Ooh, I think there’s a story there. Cheryl says she has “easy access to borderline-legal GPS software” and claims she can find anyone. Veronica looks uncomfortable.
The next day, after school (way to jump on that, Cheryl), Betty and Cheryl join the other Vixens in a parking lot. Evelyn’s pissed that Cheryl’s coming, and the two of them stare at each other for a while. Evelyn whispers to Toni that Cheryl scares her. Toni reveals the GPS says Ang’s “somewhere outside of Greendale”. Ethel says that town always gave her the creeps. Spoiler: Sabrina doesn’t appear in this issue. The Vixens ride off to help Ang, Cheryl riding with Betty. Mad Doc Doom observes them from his black car.
At their destination, the other girls hide behind some bushes and observe the house from across the street while Betty goes and knocks on the front door. Ang’s asshole boyfriend answers. Betty politely addresses him, asks him if he’s accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior, and then sucker-punches him right in the fucking face. Okay, that was a genuine laugh-out-loud moment for me.
The other girls arrive and search the house. The asshole boyfriend reaches for his cell phone, which he’d dropped, but Evelyn picks up a lamp, smashes it over his head, slams his head against the floor, and demands to know where Ang is. He points upstairs. Toni runs upstairs, calling for her. She calls back. Toni finds her in a closet and helps her downstairs.
Suddenly, another asshole comes out of nowhere and charges at Ethel. Toni warns her. Cheryl literally leaps into action and bites the dude’s left ear, drawing blood. Mike Tyson would be proud. The attack even makes a crunching sound. Ang is shocked, and even Toni is surprised. Veronica suggests they get the fuck out of here.
Later, outside, Ethel points out that Cheryl saved her – but doesn’t thank her. Cheryl re-applies her lipstick (did she at least clean the blood off her lips first?) and tells Ethel to not let it go to her head. Huh?
To Veronica’s disappointment, Betty happily welcomes Cheryl as “an honorary Vixen”? What? That sounds cheap. Why not say “an official Vixen”?
Anyway, Betty and Cheryl mount up, and Cheryl jokes about the other girls not outranking her on the cheer squad.
As Toni and Ang say their goodbyes, Toni says “These girls are my friends.”
The other Vixens mount their bikes. Cheryl curls her arms around Betty’s waist. Mad Doc Doom gets their attention and congratulates them.
At Lodge Manor, Smithers brings Mr. Lodge his tea. Mr. Lodge is reading in The Riverdale Gazette about the Southside Serpents being forced out of Riverdale. He doesn’t get it, because his contacts in the Riverdale PD don’t know how it happened. Smithers thinks it’s good that they’re gone, but Mr. Lodge fears a bigger menace and vows to get to the bottom of it. The caption at the bottom of the page teases the Vixens’ secret potentially being revealed next time.
This was another good issue! I’m looking forward to the next one. After the story is a one-page cover gallery for this issue and another Riverdale Gazette article (dated April of 2018); this one talks about the history of roller derby and its resurgence in popularity – especially in “the neighboring town of Pembrooke”, led by the affluent youth as an “anarchistic reaction” to the old-school way of life in the “affluent neighborhood”. Archie Comics has historically been inconsistent over whether Pembrooke is a separate town or an exclusive community / affluent neighborhood within Riverdale. Here, it’s a separate town, yet Cheryl attends Riverdale High, so she must live within Riverdale’s city limits. In a 2009 story called “Get Out of Town”, Pembrooke was explicitly its own separate town. In an early 2011 story called “Queen B”, Pembrooke Academy existed, and there was a Pembrooke Mall (which Betty and Veronica shopped at for whatever reason), but Pembrooke wasn’t described as its own town or even as a community/neighborhood, and Cheryl lived within Riverdale. In the recently-started Vampironica AU title, Cheryl lives at “Pembrooke Estates”, which seemingly insinuates it’s within Riverdale. Anyway, there’s also the cover of Betty & Veronica: Vixens #6, which has Betty and Veronica bound and sitting on (presumably) the floor of a biker bar. It promises the beginning of the “Hunted” storyline.
I know I said there would be an extra review last week to make up for no new review two weeks ago, but Real Life has been crazy busy, and I think my employer has been illegally making me stay past my scheduled hours until “everything’s done”. I’ll try to get an extra review up before next Wednesday’s review.