Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Best Friends Jumbo Comics Digest, No. 285
On-Sale Date: October 14, 2020
So here’s some backstory. When the plague hit, the comic book industry had its ass kicked. Diamond stopped shipping comics. DC went its own way. The Big Two drastically reduced their output. Nerdrage was unleashed. Prophecies of doom were foretold. Shitslinging commenced.
Even Archie Comics was affected. Vampironica: New Blood just barely concluded in time. The third issue of Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Something Wicked didn’t come out until nearly five months after the second issue, and the series still hasn’t concluded. Archie #713 didn’t come out until over four months after #712, finally completing the “Archie and Katy Keene” arc, and there’s been no new issue (nor announcement of one) since then. Over at Dynamite, the final two issues of the Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica crossover didn’t come out until four months after the previous issue. Back at Archie, four novels and two original graphic novels, unaffected by the ass-reaming that the comic shops were taking, came out, but those are stories for later.
Over at the digests, new stories were suspended. In fact, not counting a noncanon fairy tale story in #281, this story that I’m reviewing today is the first new story in this digest series since this one (and, yes, it is the same series, even though it was unnecessarily renamed with #282). This is actually the first new classic-style story since June 3.
Let’s get into it.
Archie and Jughead are hanging out at Pop’s. Veronica and Betty come in, having just hit up some antique shops in town. So…Pop’s isn’t “in town”? Whatever. What Ronnie really means is she shopped, and Betty watched, because her broke ass can’t afford antiques. Honestly, I’m surprised that Ronnie has an interest in antiques at all, considering the market is pretty much dead.
Anyway, Ronnie shows off an antique locket that she bought. Inside is a really old picture of a woman. Jughead says the woman is a witch, Old Lady Brentlock; she’s a legendary witch that lived in Riverdale years ago. Ronnie thinks Jughead’s cray-cray, but Jughead warns Ronnie is “unlocking a Pandora’s box of trouble”.
Ronnie asks Betty if she’s heard of the witch. Betty gets a funny response in: “No! But I’m not in the know on the witches of Riverdale past!” Jughead takes a picture of the locket and, as he’s leaving, advises Ronnie to put the locket away. Ronnie and Betty wonder if Jughead’s fucking with her or not.
Soon, Ronnie and Betty meet Jughead outside somewhere. Why? Anyway, Ronnie couldn’t find anything about that witch online. Jughead claims he found a curse attached to the “ancient” locket: possession by Brentlock’s spirit. He shows her a picture of the locket. Convinced, Ronnie gives the locket to Jughead to dispose of. He agrees and says she can thank him in burgers later.
A few days later, on Halloween, Betty and Ronnie show up at Jughead’s house to pick up Jellybean for trick-or-treating (which isn’t a thing anymore, at least not in the traditional sense). Gladys tells them that Jellybean is so excited and sends her out – along with her costume in a bag.
At Ronnie’s house, Ronnie has dressed up as the Bride of Frankenstein, and Betty has dressed up as a Supergirl knockoff (the shield has a B instead of an S). Ronnie and Betty banter for a bit, during which Ronnie manages to insult Betty and piss her off. Ronnie call for Jellybean, so they can see her costume. Jellybean is dressed as a witch, but Ronnie is concerned about the look in her eyes. Betty frantically points out that Jellybean’s wearing the locket.
Ronnie freaks out and asks how she got it. Betty guesses she must have taken it from Jughead. Ronnie tells Jellybean to stop and tells her that she’s possessed. She calls to Betty for help, but Betty runs away. Betty’s like “Fuck you, you’re on your own!” Ronnie tells the “traitor” that she’ll remember this. Ronnie, for no discernable reason, suddenly bursts into hysterics, deathly afraid of this little girl (possessed or not). Ronnie begs Jellybean to spare her life, saying she’s “too young and pretty to die”. As it turns out, though, it was all a trick, and Jellybean, Jughead, and even Betty were all in on it. Wait, Betty was in on it? How? Why? When did she get in on it? Ronnie angrily says she would have thought better of her. Betty make a lame pun. The end.
This story was fairly mediocre. Jughead seemed to randomly come up with this “witch” story, triggered solely by the picture in the locket that Ronnie showed off, solely to dick with Ronnie. Ronnie falls for it way too easily. It’s not even explained how, why, or when Betty got in on the act.