Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 14
Cover Date: August, 1998
Length: 11 pages
Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.
At Riverdale High, Cheryl sees Ms. Grundy in the hall and tries to avoid her, but no luck. Grundy gets a wicked grin upon spotting Cheryl. Cheryl guesses Grundy’s on her ass about the extracurricular shit from before.
Grundy says the school year is almost over, and Cheryl has failed at the school paper and the science club. Wait, science club? Is Grundy talking about that time that Cheryl wanted a star named after her? That’s quite a stretch. Anyway, why is Grundy so obsessed about Cheryl’s lack of participation? Cheryl will be gone soon. Anyway, Cheryl says she’ll find some shitty club to join. She comes across cheerleading practice in the gym and decides to join. She then realizes the state cheerleading competition is in two weeks and “could stand the attention”. She decides to hire a professional trainer.
Sometime later, at home, an older man (a butler?) informs Cheryl that she has a visitor: a knockoff of Mary Lou Retton, who was a gymnast, not a cheerleader. Cheryl wants to get down to business. She’s paying Mary “more than most small countries make in a year”. They practice, and Cheryl gets better.
Finally, once she’s good, only then does Cheryl put on a cheerleading uniform, walk into the gym, and ask to join the team. Betty and Veronica aren’t happy. Cheryl shows off her moves. A random teammate is impressed and compliments Cheryl. Betty tells a dismayed Cheryl that she can’t join, because the Riverdale cheerleading squad has been chosen for the year. Well, yeah, especially with the school year being almost over. Cheryl should have asked them before she wasted her time and money on training. Cheryl wants to be in the state competition. Ronnie’s like “Tough shit” and laughs at her.
Grundy has overheard about who trained Cheryl and offers Cheryl to “pinch hit” as their cheerleading coach for the rest of the year. Ronnie loses her shit. Cheryl agrees to it. Ronnie angrily asks about Coach Weaver. At that moment, Coach Weaver walks by in the hall alongside her husband or boyfriend or fuckbuddy and announces she’s off to have her baby girl, who’s come a bit early. Coach Weaver is all smiles and doesn’t behave at all like a woman in labor. Ronnie calls her inconsiderate. Grundy angrily tells Betty and Ronnie (but mostly Ronnie) that Cheryl “needs comaraderie” [sic] and orders them to support her. Betty seems happy to. Grundy exposits about how Betty’s the team captain and knows all of the moves. Ronnie agrees to it but warns Cheryl against pulling any shit. Cheryl says no one’s more competitive than her and says she can take them right to the top. Ronnie tells Betty that it would be nice to have Cheryl on their side for once. Betty seems to agree without saying anything.
Cheryl is eager to get started and shows the girls a cheer that she learned. It ends with Cheryl ripping her pants (or rather panties in this case). This had also happened during her training, so I guess it’s a running gag during this story. Hilarious. Betty and Ronnie laugh at Cheryl’s misfortune, despite the rest of the routine being good. An embarrassed Cheryl leaves, promising to “be back with some preparation for the competition”. I thought she’s already prepared.
Anyway, now’s a good time to mention something distracting, art-wise. Usually, it’s only Betty and Ronnie that are given any attention during these practice scenes. Sometimes, a third girl is tossed in, but the third girl always changes from panel to panel (one girl looked like just Ronnie with short hair, which confused me for a moment). There’s no sense of team cohesion.
On another day, Cheryl surprises the girls with a cheerleading bus. It has “Riverdale” on it but no mention of a team mascot (in the classic comics, the mascot is usually the Bulldogs, which is what Riverdale uses; in the Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV movie and in the The Archies in Jugman TV movie, which is a loose sequel to Archie’s Weird Mysteries, the mascot is the Raccoons). Ronnie thinks the bus is tacky and gawdy (it really isn’t), but Grundy says it was a generous donation from Cheryl’s family and forces Betty, Ronnie, and Midge (who’s on the team, I guess) to agree.
Somehow, Cheryl had gotten it fixed so the bus’ sign changes from “The Riverdale Cheerleaders” to “Cheryl Blossom’s Cheerleaders Supreme” when they’re on the road. How’d she manage that?
With absolutely no transition, they’re suddenly in the school, and Cheryl surprises Betty and Ronnie with new uniforms with a blossom on the chest. Perhaps thinking the outfits are too skimpy (although the only difference is a lack of sleeves), Betty says this isn’t a Las Vegas show. Cheryl begs them to humor her and wear them “for now”. Betty angrily agrees. Cheryl plots to switch them with their regular outfits before the competition.
Cheryl puts red wigs on Betty and Ronnie, but they refuse to wear them.
Finally, the big competition day arrives. The team’s on its way. Why are they leaving on the day of the competition? Do they not have the money to pay for hotel rooms or something? Anyway, Betty complains to Grundy that Cheryl’s driving them crazy. Grundy tells her to admire Cheryl’s determination. Cheryl asks the driver why the bus is slowing down. He says there’s a big accident on the bridge. Cheryl says the competition starts in an hour. That’s insane and totally irresponsible. I’m guessing it was Grundy’s decision of when to leave the school, so I’m blaming her for this.
Cheryl’s upset at the thought of the money that she spent on the costumes going to waste, and Ronnie picks up on that and questions Cheryl. Cheryl tries to cover her ass by saying she “forgot” their “old costumes”. Ronnie wants to beat the shit out of Cheryl, but Grundy restrains her and says they may not make it there. Cheryl’s gloomy. The bus driver relays some information from the police: they’re gonna be here for a couple hours. This gives Cheryl an idea. Knowing they have a captive audience, Cheryl suggests putting on a show, because “it’s better than sitting here doing nothing”.
Ronnie agrees, and I guess the rest of the girls are on board as well. They go outside. Cheryl spots traffic ‘copters and mentions the media coverage that they’ll get. The girls (minus Cheryl, shockingly) do a routine and are a hit. Grundy credits Cheryl with ending the year “with a bang”. Teasing an upcoming storyline, Cheryl mentions summer and says “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
This story was okay, I guess, but it feels very contrived. None of this would happen in real life. Also, the story feels very dated. It’s not really the fault of the story itself but rather the development that has occurred since its publication. I’m so used to Cheryl being the team captain and calling the shots (mostly from Riverdale, but comics like Betty & Veronica: Vixens have also run with it) that reading an old story where Cheryl’s a nobody that has to try out for the team feels odd.
Between Parts 1 and 2 is a Salem (yeah, Sabrina’s cat) story titled “One Cool Cat”.
After the story is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Spring Carnival Style”, which seems like something that should have appeared earlier.