Writer: Jamie Lee Rotante
Line Art: Sandra Lanz
Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty & Veronica, Vol. 4, No. 1
Cover Date: February, 2019
On-Sale Date: December 19, 2018
Length: 19 pages*
*I’m going by the pages on Kindle, which displays two-page spreads on the same screen (compressing them to make them difficult to read in the process). GCDB lists 20 pages for the actual printed comic book.
Let’s talk continuity. Betty & Veronica: Vixens has been described as AU and “alt-world” online (including by writer Jamie Lee Rotante). That didn’t stop Betty from sort of teasing this new miniseries at the end of the final issue.
Also, Archie recently resumed so-called “legacy numbering” with issue #699, which was a cheap recap issue that summarized the 32 issues so far of New Riverdale Archie – but, notably, not Jughead, Betty and Veronica (Vol. 3), Reggie and Me, The Archies, Betty & Veronica: Vixens, or the Big Moose one-shot. It kept those 32 issues of Archie in continuity (including the first two issues, which came out before the current iteration of the gang entered high school) but disregarded everything else. Archie #700 started a new story arc, definitely influenced by Riverdale, but it’s basically a family-friendly nod to it. It brought in Sabrina, who’s seemingly not the same version of the character that guest-starred in Jughead.
According to Rotante, this new Betty & Veronica miniseries (which wasn’t initially announced as a miniseries on July 9), in her mind, takes place later in the timeline of the Archie title. That would mean Archie currently occurs in junior year, so are we supposed to believe those previous 32 issues, in which Archie had a driver’s license, occurred in sophomore year?
Anyway, that’s where we’re at right now, so let’s get into the story:
Betty and Veronica are lying on a blanket outside, relaxing. Veronica can’t believe summer’s already over.
Apparently, Betty and Reggie had been dating during the previous school year but broke up near the end of it or at the beginning of summer vacation. But then Veronica made sure that the rest of Betty’s summer was awesome. They did things together, such as entering a race (that involved getting hit by paint), watching the Fourth of July fireworks, and going to (presumably) New York City. Obviously, this is completely at odds with how they spent their summer in Vixens. Betty is grateful to Veronica.
Apparently, without Veronica’s injection of awesomeness, Betty would have spent the summer fixing up her dad’s old car and babysitting. Betty is worried about Veronica talking about the breakup too loudly, and she can’t bring herself to tell Archie or Jughead (I hope this isn’t a Riverdale influence) that she was dating Reggie and that he dumped her. Veronica says boys just wouldn’t get it, and Betty needed a woman’s perspective. As they leave the park, Veronica admits Betty’s never been intimidated by her (and she likes that), and Betty admits Veronica doesn’t think she’s a doormat (and she likes that). Veronica says they need each other.
Back at Betty’s, Betty sits on the hood of a red sports car (I assume this is Veronica’s), and Veronica leans against it. Betty’s anxious about the approach of senior year and college prep. Veronica advises her to not worry about it. Betty wants to know which college that Veronica’s thinking of going to. Hermione wants Veronica to attend Hitchens U, the snooty private university in Massachusetts where she met Hiram. Betty says Massachusetts is “not too far”. Veronica doesn’t wanna go and asks about Betty. Betty would love to study abroad and see the world (specifically, she thinks of riding camels in the desert) but figures she can’t afford it without mounting up student debt. Betty and Veronica say they’ll miss each other.
Betty wants them to do a pinky swear and create a pact that they’ll attend the same college. Veronica is amused and skeptical but agrees – but also adds that they won’t let a boy (especially Archie) come between them. Betty agrees, and they declare they’re best friends forever.
At Riverdale High School, on the first day of senior year, Betty runs into Archie in the hall and asks what he’s doing. Over the summer, he worked with the school board to create packets to hand out to the seniors to make senior year less stressful. Betty is impressed and thanks Archie for the “super helpful” packet. Archie feels like he didn’t see Betty all summer and asks how she’s been. Betty is momentarily distracted by Reggie walking by but says she’s been pretty great and says she’ll see Archie in homeroom.
In homeroom, “Juggy” is the only other one there. Betty asks if he’s excited. He tells her to wake him when it’s lunch time. Ethel comes in, and Betty compliments her appearance. Ethel spent the entire summer helping Mayor Martinez (interesting that they seem to be keeping her consistent across continuities) on her re-election campaign. It was so inspiring, and she might even run for student council president. Citing her relative lack of experience, Betty nonetheless wants to be Ethel’s “#1 campaign manager”. Um, there’s only one campaign manager. Anyway, this statement directly contradicts Archie #700, which had Betty being involved in campaign activities over the summer in, of all places, Las Vegas. Midge comes in, obviously depressed, and takes a seat. Betty asks Ethel what’s up with her. Ethel says Midge and Moose broke up, and it was ugly. Moose might not even come back to school. Betty is surprised and asks why. Ethel doesn’t know.
Reggie comes into homeroom, and Betty has a flashback to Reggie yelling at her about pretending to be perfect but still screwing up sometimes. The bell rings. When Veronica arrives and sits to Betty’s right, the two friends wave at each other. Ms. Grundy welcomes them to senior year and starts talking about “prep work”.
Ms. Grundy name-drops Archie as the creator of the packets, getting him some attention from the girls. Betty finally looks at the packet and is overwhelmed by the numerous deadlines. Veronica asks her if she’s okay. Betty asks to be excused. Ms. Grundy grants it. Betty leaves the classroom.
Betty enters a restroom, grips a sink, and looks down into it. Veronica enters, wets her handkerchief, and wipes Betty’s forehead. Betty apologizes, not knowing what happened. Veronica says they all get a little overwhelmed sometimes. Betty asks if everyone was laughing at her. Veronica says no. As they leave the restroom, Betty thanks her.
Cheryl gets their attention. Veronica refers to her as “the Red Baroness“. Cheryl gets a bit sassy with Veronica and calls her “Kylie Kardash-ain’t“. Cheryl quickly gets to the point: she invites them to the Pickens U Welcome Back Party on Friday night but doesn’t want them to tell anyone that they’re with her. She says it’s gonna be “hella lit”. Since she spent her summer in SoCal, she translates it as “really neat”. She says bye and leaves. Betty wants to get back to class, but Veronica points out the huge favor that Cheryl might have just done them. Since Pickens U is local, Veronica suggests they could both go there. Betty asks why Veronica would want to go to a “pedestrian” school. Veronica says they have a great business program. Despite Betty’s reservations about attending a college party, Veronica convinces her to go, talk to some students, and scope the place out. It’ll be fun (which Betty could use) and might be the key to them staying together after high school.
Later that afternoon, Betty comes home, drops her key in the bowl on the table by the front door (next to some overdue bill notices), sees her parents making breakfast for dinner, and asks them if they liked Pickens U, because she might check it out for an “orientation” on Friday night. Alice says she’ll love it there. Hal says they give scholarships to family members of alumni. Alice says Betty will be a shoo-in, says they’re so proud of her, and kisses her on the cheek, seemingly making Betty happy.
Meanwhile, at Lodge Manor, Veronica’s brushing her hair at her vanity. Hermione enters the room and asks about her first day. Veronica says it was fine and boring. Hermione asks Veronica about Hitchens U, noting she missed the early application deadline but saying she and Hiram will work their alumni magic to get Veronica accepted even at the standard deadline. Veronica needs time and also mentions checking out Pickens. Hermione is surprised but tells Veronica to let them know when she’s made a decision. After Hermione leaves, Veronica takes a rejection letter from Hitchens out of her dresser drawer. Is she keeping this a secret, so her parents won’t have time to pull strings? Anyway, Veronica’s address number is 11252.
At Pickens U on Friday night, Betty and Veronica are walking hand-in-hand around the party. A guy comes by and offers to get “girl” a beer. Betty politely declines. Veronica says they’re watching their carb intake and tells “dear” to “fetch” Betty some non-alcoholic punch. After the “Neanderthal” leaves, Veronica tells Betty to grill him. Veronica’s gonna mingle with some of the business students and then meet Betty back here. Betty reluctantly agrees. Veronica leaves. Unknown to Betty, the guy spikes her punch. Betty starts drinking.
Veronica proves to know more about current tech than a business student, who turns out to be sexist, so she leaves. A guy in shadows tells Veronica to not let them get to her. Veronica tells him that she can take care of herself.
Later, Betty’s piss-ass drunk and wants to know what kind of fruits are in the “good” punch. How stupid does she have to be to not 1) taste the alcohol and 2) realize she’s drunk? As the guy gets close to Betty, she notices his flask, pushes him away, and leaves. She goes off by herself, drunk-texts Archie, and waits for him to pick her up.
Archie arrives and drives Betty home. She doesn’t feel well during the whole ride. Archie asks her if her parents will be upset. Betty says they think she’s at Veronica’s (despite her mentioning an “orientation” earlier) and should be asleep; she’ll be quiet. Archie walks her to her front door. She kisses him on the cheek. He says good night and tells her to text him when she’s upstairs, so he knows she’s okay.
Back at the party, the shadowy guy turns out to be Reggie. He came here out of boredom but is bored, anyway. He suggests ditching. Veronica needs to find Betty. Reggie saw her drive off with Archie, her “red-headed hero”. Reggie’s bitter, because he’s spent his whole life competing with him, but Betty and Archie belong together. Reggie gives Veronica a ride home. So…did Veronica just leave her car at Pickens? Or did Betty? Anyway, Veronica asks if that’s why Reggie and Betty broke up and realizes Reggie still cares about her.
As Veronica and Betty watch Reggie and Archie, respectively, from their front doors, they wonder what they’ll tell each other. Because, y’know, this is a violation of their pinky swear and therefore such a big deal.
A Halloween story is up next.
Before I get into the story, here’s the extras. After the story is a one-page cover gallery for this issue, an invitation for fan letters and art, an ad for Volume Two of Vixens, an ad for Book One of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (with a plug for the Netflix series), an ad for the collected editions of Mark Waid’s Archie run (specifically highlighting Volume 6), an ad for some classic Archie collections, and the cover for the next issue (the “falling leaves” cover) with a blurb that teases Riverdale’s Halloween party.
This is a good first issue. I admit I can’t relate to it much, though. Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve been a senior, but I don’t recall much (if any) stress. I was going to the local community college, filled out the FAFSA, and basically got through two years of community college and two years of university while not paying much. I certainly didn’t accumulate any student debt. Of course, I didn’t have a BFF that I absolutely had to attend the same college with. Anyone that I really wanted to stay in touch with after high school generally stayed in the area.
Anyway, I look forward to the next issue.