Comics – Taking Care of Business

Writer: Paul Kupperberg
Pencils: Jeff Shultz
Inking: Jim Amash
Colors: Digikore Studios
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica, No. 257
Cover Date: February, 2012
On-Sale Date: December 21, 2011
Length: 24 pages

At the Lodges’ winter lodge (the Lodge Lodge, if you will), as Betty waits to leave on a trip, Veronica is rattling off instructions to Smithers to take care of her shit. Betty points out that there’s a snowstorm on the way, it’s getting late, and they should’ve been on the road an hour ago. They leave the lodge. Veronica’s confident that she’ll have them down the mountain and on the road in no time. Betty pulls Veronica away as she’s about to give Smithers more instructions. Betty says bye to Smithers. Smithers says bye to Betty and wishes (just?) Betty a safe trip.

As they drive off, the girls argue over Veronica’s delegation of tasks to her staff.

As Veronica talks about her travel plan, a deer crosses the road, and Veronica swerves off the road to avoid it, telling Betty to hold on.

They crash into a log. Dazed, Veronica gets out of the car, berating the “stupid deer”. She realizes Betty is in a lot worse shape.

Veronica opens the door. Betty’s still conscious, and Veronica helps “hun” out. Betty asks what happened, and Veronica explains. As Veronica helps her sit on a rock, Betty asks why everything’s spinning. Veronica explains Betty hit her head, says (without proof) she’ll be okay, and tells her to rest. Veronica goes to get her cell phone (to call the lodge) and some other stuff from the car – just before it breaks the log and crashes into some bushes.

Betty falls off the rock. Veronica helps her up and tells her to stay awake, because she might have a concussion. Betty’s tired, but Veronica orders “hun” to her feet. Betty agrees with “Mom”.

Veronica isn’t getting a cell signal, and she sits on a log and panics, convinced they’ll freeze to death. She asks Betty for help. Betty stands up, supporting herself on a tree branch, and suggests making hot cocoa, because it’s very cold. Veronica knows Betty is in no shape to help.

Veronica realizes it’s all on her. She helps Betty sit down but tells her to keep talking and stay awake. Veronica is determined to keep them going until a search party arrives. She’s well aware that everyone thinks she’s helpless without her staff, but she decides, as the supposed future leader of Lodge Industries, to prove she can handle things. She starts thinking of their situation as running a business.

Betty asks for the cocoa. First, though, Veronica makes a makeshift tent out of a fallen branch and plastic rain ponchos. She has Betty get into the tent and instructs her to stay awake.

Veronica goes out and gathers dry wood for a later fire (capital in reserve). She goes back to the tent to check on Betty, who’s sleepy and cold and really wants that cocoa now. Veronica tells “hun” that she’ll get it soon and tells her to stay awake. Betty doesn’t know if she can.

Veronica suggests singing (keeping up morale), so they sing “Let It Snow”.

Later, Betty’s snoring wakes Veronica up. Veronica is momentarily disoriented as to where she is and surprised by Betty’s snoring (but not concerned that she’s asleep) but then, to her delight, realizes her shelter worked, and they made it through the storm. She takes the wood that she’d gathered and clears a space for a fire.

Lacking matches, she uses her nail file and a hitherto-unmentioned piece of quartz that she’d found to start a fire. Veronica keeps making business comparisons as she rips up a magazine to feed the fire.

She gets out her cell phones (or hers and Betty’s), realizes there’s still no reception, but remembers the built-in GPS tracking. She leaves only one on at a time to conserve batteries. Betty wakes up, disappointed that last night wasn’t just a dream. Veronica asks “hun” how she’s feeling.

Betty insists to “Ronnie” that she’s fine, despite Veronica guessing she has a concussion. Betty seems to prove her right and admits it. She’s surprised that Veronica made the shelter and the fire and jokes Smithers found them. Veronica threatens to not share a chicken salad sandwich with her. Betty compliments Veronica.

They talk for a bit as they eat. Betty’s head hurts. Veronica tells her to rest and leaves the tent. Betty says she’s the boss. Veronica tells “baby” that she’s “the chairwoman of the board”. She climbs a snow bank to reach the road but falls and crashes into a tree so hard that she knocks it over a bit. Betty cracks a joke. Bitch.

Veronica starts up a huge, smoky fire (advertising) with some wet wood to attract the attention of the search party. Betty uses some nylon thread and a safety pin from the sewing kit to make a fishing line. Veronica praises her “employee” and also mentions they fish in the river all winter long at the lodge. Veronica gives Betty a “raise”, paid in fish. Betty’s over the business comparisons.

Veronica feeds the fire, names her business “Survival, Incorporated”, and uses a protein bar as bait to catch fish. She catches something. In her battle with “Mr. Fish”, Veronica “The Closer” Lodge falls flat on her ass. Checking to make sure that Betty didn’t see (she didn’t), she tries again. She eventually catches two fish. Betty feels guilty for letting Veronica do all of the work. Veronica tasks Betty with cleaning and cooking the fish. Betty notes more snow is coming.

As she cleans the fish with a nail file, Betty apologizes to Veronica for her earlier comments, saying, when it really mattered, Veronica stepped up and got the job done. Betty adds Veronica probably even saved her life. Betty calls Veronica her best friend and says she loves her. She starts to thank her for something else but then hears snoring and realizes Veronica’s fallen asleep in the tent. Betty tells “Madam Chairwoman” to sleep tight, saying she’s earned it.

The next morning, Veronica wakes up and sits bolt upright at the sound of a voice outside saying there’s nothing down here. Betty slowly wakes up. Angry at being ignored, Veronica gets out of the tent and screams at the rescuers.

Shortly, Veronica and Betty have been pulled up and are being informed by the sheriff (I guess) of the storm delaying their search. He praises Veronica for leaving on her cell phone, so they could track her by GPS. Mr. Lodge arrives, overjoyed that the girls are all right. They were worried sick. Veronica is modest regarding their survival, so Betty tells him the truth. Hiram asks Veronica for confirmation. Veronica says she learned from watching him. He says he’s the world’s worst camper, but Veronica clarifies she was “just taking care of business–Lodge style”. Betty calls Veronica “girlfriend”. The end.

This was a really nice, warm, moving story. There are certain things that I find questionable (the “tent” of plastic ponchos held up by one branch, Veronica starting a fire with a nail file and quartz, Betty just getting over a concussion), but it’s a wonderful exploration of Veronica Lodge as a character and of the Betty/Veronica friendship. Or is it more than friendship?

The story’s only flaw (if you can even call it a flaw) is it’s very basic in a lot of the conversation and actions, feeling decompressed. This review is actually shorter than a lot of my reviews of 20-page stories. Oh, well.

After the story is a one-page “sneak peak” of the alternate cover for the issue (I guess ultimately unpublished, since GCDb doesn’t have it indexed) and an Everything’s Archie preview page. I actually love the alternate cover a lot more than the cover that they went with. It’s very dramatic, showing the immediate aftermath of the accident with a panicking Veronica; the deer running away; and a very dazed, injured Betty sitting in the snow.

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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