Writer: Jamie Lee Rotante
Line Art: Sandra Lanz
Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty & Veronica, Vol. 4, No. 5
Cover Date: July, 2019
On-Sale Date: May 8, 2019
Length: 20 pages
Before I get into the story, I need to mention it’s untitled in the issue itself. I’m using the title given in the blurb at the end of the previous issue.
Before the story, there’s a recap of the previous issue on the credits page. It also lays out the plot of this issue: it’s up to Betty and Veronica (for some reason) to fix their friends’ relationships before graduation. Why?
The issue begins with the graduation ceremony. Mr. Weatherbee addresses the Class of 2019 (which immediately dates the issue). He introduces the valedictorian, Elizabeth Cooper. Betty’s the valedictorian? I would have thought Dilton would be. Ms. Overachiever has had so much shit going on during senior year; how’d she ever manage to keep her grades up?
People cheer and clap for Betty as she takes the stage. She and Mr. Weatherbee shake hands. She thanks him. He congratulates her. This ceremony is happening in the morning. Betty addresses the graduating class. After previously thinking of the girl-next-door label as an insult, she’s come to embrace it. Oh, Dilton’s wearing a medal. I guess he’s the salutatorian.
Anyway, Betty continues talking about Riverdale High and its students being welcoming to everybody and helping each other out.
It flashes back to prom night (Betty’s speech will occasionally show up as captions in these flashbacks). Veronica and Betty go around the room. Veronica helps out Midge and Ethel. Betty helps out Moose. Cheryl talks about the prom sign and again blames Reggie. It turns out that she didn’t want to talk with Betty about anything in particular but then fishes for a compliment on her “gorg” dress. That’s pretty funny. Anyway, Betty and Veronica give each other five, and now Veronica wants to discuss “the whole college thing”. Wow, they fixed all of their friends’ problems in one page. Amazing. But, um, that was the promised plot of this issue, and we still have 16 pages to go.
On the last week of classes, Archie’s reading Jughead’s article in the school paper and takes issue with his use of that photo. Jughead says it’s about Betty and Veronica saving him, not about him. That makes it okay. We learn Jughead’s planning on studying journalism in college, so this was practice. Veronica asks Archie where he’s going and if he’s still undecided. Archie made quarterback this year (and didn’t mention it to her, I guess). A scout from Pickens saw him play and offered him a football scholarship. He’s conflicted, though, because he’d really like to pursue music. Veronica suggests doing both. Archie hadn’t considered that but guesses he could do that. Betty sees a flier on the bulletin board for Spellman University.
Betty flashes back earlier. One week before prom, Betty went to Spellman University, wearing a fancy suit and armed with a folder containing her grades. The chancellor or whoever is impressed but wants to know what Betty will bring to their community and why they should accept her over their other applicants. Apparently, all of those extracurriculars and volunteer work that Betty did aren’t worth shit here. Betty realizes this and also realizes she forgot about herself somewhere along the way.
Betty believes she couldn’t do anything for Spellman and wouldn’t fit in. Ms. Prescott tries to remind Betty of the importance of even being offered the opportunity to attend Spellman. Betty abruptly stands up, thanks her, withdraws herself from consideration, and walks out of Ms. Prescott’s office, surprising her. Betty seems happy. Outside the office, Betty sees a flier for something called World Reach on the bulletin board.
We’re back to the scene right before Betty’s flashback. Veronica brings up senior skip day. She’s had her father restrict access to Pickens Park (because I guess he can just do that), so they can use it. Betty takes out her phone and, distracted, says she’ll catch up with them in a bit.
At Riverdale Elementary School, Toni’s doing her STEM program, despite the fact that Dilton had said it was for middle schoolers. Mr. Weatherbee comes in. He mentions he used to work here before he became high school principal. He’s impressed with her work, but she’s humble. She mentions “Lodge Industries”, even though it’s been called Lodge Enterprises in this series. (The classic comics alternated between the two names.) The three of them will be attending a scholarship ceremony tonight. During this scene, there’s a cute background gag of a kid that looks like a little Archie messing shit up.
That night, at the community center, during a speech, Veronica names the new head of funding for Lodge Industries: Hal Cooper. Hal thanks Hiram, but Hiram says it was Veronica’s idea. Hiram misses Betty’s absence and hears she’s helping out a friend with a sick family member. Veronica wishes she could be more like Betty. Outside the center, Veronica says she’s about to be going away to college with no idea what she wants to do in her life. Hiram suggests asking herself what’s most important to her.
At Reggie’s house, he tells “Nana” (who’s unseen) to get some rest. Betty apologizes to Reggie for not being a good friend. Reggie takes the blame. They go outside. Betty admits they should have just talked about it. Betty tells Reggie something that she hasn’t told anyone: she’s been offered the opportunity to do volunteer work in Peru, and she thinks she’s gonna do it. Reggie thinks it’s for the summer, but it’s for the year.
Reggie asks about college. Betty says it’ll still be there when she gets back, but this is something that she needs to do right now (because cliche of Betty being a ceaseless do-gooder). Reggie calls her amazing. Betty asks about him. Reggie felt powerless while watching his grandma suffer, so he’s thinking of enrolling in some nursing classes at Riverdale Community College in the fall. Betty playfully punches him and says he’s not so bad. Reggie says he’ll miss her and seems to think there’s no chance of them getting back together. Betty thinks she needs this time to really focus on herself, but she offers to get back together with him for the summer – and maybe not in secret this time. As they move to join hands, Jughead rides by on his bike and says the camera’s at home, which causes Betty and Reggie to laugh.
On senior skip day, everyone’s hanging out in Pickens Park. Veronica observes the non-couples (Moose/Midge) and couples (Reggie/Betty). Midge is leaving for college in California this fall. Veronica literally says “#Beggie”.
Meanwhile, some assholes from Central High sneak beer into a cooler and then call the cops to get back at the “Riverdale idiots” for taking over the park on Central High’s skip day. Archie and Reggie have an awkward encounter, but Reggie notices Archie’s frisbee and asks Archie if he and Betty can join him. That eases the situation.
Unfortunately, the popo arrive at that moment. Despite Veronica’s protests of innocence, a cop finds two six-packs of beer in the cooler, and another one is unrealistically aware that Moose no longer attends Riverdale High.
He also mentions Reggie has priors. He calls for Moose and Reggie to be arrested while they question the others here. Betty’s pissed. Archie says they’re innocent. The officers don’t listen and handcuff Moose and Reggie. Archie says they’re gonna have to arrest all of them, too. Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Ethel, Cheryl, Dilton, Midge, and Toni stand behind him in solidarity.
The cops arrest all of them and throw them in jail. Hiram, Hal, and Mr. Weatherbee arrive, having sorted this out. This won’t be on any of their records. The Central High kids were caught a few blocks over. Mr. Weatherbee’s like “Best senior skip day ever!” Betty thanks her dad for helping sort this out. She tells him that she’s not going to Pickens. They sit down to talk. She know what she’s “meant to do”, hugs him, and thanks him for everything.
Back in the present, Betty finally wraps up her speech with an excited “We did it!”
Everyone cheers as they take off their caps and throw them in the air. Well, everyone except Veronica. I don’t know what the fuck she’s doing with her weird, shoulder-level hand gesture.
Veronica and Betty talk about what they’ll be doing. Betty will be building houses in disadvantaged areas. Veronica will be studying psychology, seemingly instead of (or perhaps in addition to) fashion, at Hitchens. She credits Betty for her newfound like of helping people. Veronica booked a flight to Lima once the fall semester is over and basically gets Betty to be her tour guide.
A few days later, Veronica and Betty are lying on a picnic blanket, like last summer. Veronica says “I can’t believe it’s already the first day of summer.” I hope she’s not being literal, because, if so, how late was the graduation ceremony held? Anyway, Betty says “And, damn, is it going to be a good one.” Veronica offers her pinky and asks “Best friends forever?” Betty links her pinky with Veronica’s and says “Best friends forever.”
There’s an ad for the collected edition (called Betty & Veronica: Senior Year), on sale on September 18th, 2019. That’s followed by a cover gallery for this issue and an ad for the trade paperbacks of Betty & Veronica: Vixens.
This is another good issue and a nice end to the series. I just wish they didn’t go all stereotypically do-gooder with Betty. Even if they did, there’s no reason for her to go to Peru; there’s plenty of good that needs doing right here in Riverdale, because there’s need everywhere.
As far as it being a send-off for the characters, it was okay. But it’s made immediately irrelevant by the fact that the Archie title is still going, and the gang’s still in high school. That’s the thing about Archie Comics: despite various alternate universes or continuities, they’re always gonna be in high school.
That leads me to bringing up a project that I do every year called Archie Universe Sliding Timeline, where I go day by day and map out the characters’ lives as if they were real teenagers in high school at that point in time. Here’s my latest post, based on the idea that the teens are entering senior year this fall and will graduate in 2020. If you wanna read something really long, check it out.