Comics – Twilite

Writer: Angelo Decesare
Pencils: Bill Galvan
Inks: Al Milgrom
Colors: Digikore Studios
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Archie & Friends, No. 146-147
Cover Date: October, November, 2010
Length: 44 pages (22, 22)

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Part 1

The story begins in an old, ivy-covered building, during a thunderstorm. A black-haired guy named Edwin reveals to a (largely-unseen, except for having long, brown hair) woman that he’s a vampire. After he vamps out, she screams.

It turns out that Veronica must have screamed, too, because it turns out that she and Betty were just watching a trailer for a new movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Vampires, on a laptop…in the hallway…at school. Isn’t that against the rules? Archie runs over to check on Veronica, and Betty informs him of what they’re doing.

Archie asks if they’re worried about having nightmares, but the girls are gaga over Edwin the vampire. Reggie and Jughead come by. Reggie plays himself up. Jughead talks about food. Archie wants the guys to explain the girls’ lady-boners for a vampire. Veronica basically says the guys would act the same over a female vampire, and she’s totally right. Jughead talks about food again: he likes chili burgers.

Veronica says they want other things in a guy besides good looks, and then they watch the trailer again before class. Ha.

In homeroom, Ms. Grundy introduces two new students, Ivan and Jared. Before we move on, I just gotta say the continuity between panels in this scene is absolute shit. Main characters move around, and extras appear and disappear. Oh, and, judging by the posters on the wall, Ms. Grundy teaches English, Science, and Math. One nice detail is it seems to be raining during this scene, I guess. It’s kinda unclear, and no one brings it up.

Veronica and Betty are shocked. However, rather than it being because Ivan looks kinda like Edwin, it’s because there are two new “hotties” in their homeroom. Apparently, Veronica (a teenager) asked Santa to bring her one. We get some facts about Jared (who has brown hair): he averages twenty minutes of sleep in Math class, he likes sports (especially football, hockey, and lacrosse), and he’s on an all-pizza diet. He and his family just started working at the local zoo, so he’ll try to get them all free admission on a school day. Two random students get excited over this, even though I don’t see how Jared can convince anyone to go along with this.

Reggie exclaims “Jared seems like a cool guy, yo!” Awww, look at Reggie, pretending to be “in tha hood”. Jared is now Jughead’s “hero” because of the all-pizza diet. Ivan declines to talk about himself and just finds his seat. Reggie makes fun of him, calling him “weird”. Archie tells Reggie to leave Ivan alone, guessing he’s just shy. They argue a bit. Jughead insults Reggie. Before we move on, I readily admit I had a hard time telling Chuck apart from a random black guy in this scene (assuming they weren’t just the same character whose cap appears and disappears and whose sweatshirt slightly changes its tone; this character is never actually addressed at all, let alone by name).

After school, Veronica asks Betty why she’s hanging out at the entrance instead of practicing one of her “sports thingies”. The girls argue over why they’re here. Then Ivan shows up, followed by a random white guy that’s dressed just like the random black guy in the previous scene. Nothing says “in tha hood” better that a sweatshirt with a hoodie and a red backwards cap.

As the girls watch Jared, Reggie, Archie, and four other guys (one of whom may or may not be Chuck) play frisbee (as high school kids are known to do at school), they discuss Jared and Ivan. Reggie goes “deep” to intercept the frisbee from Jared, and he and Ivan collide.

Reggie yells at Ivan, but Archie says it wasn’t his fault. Ivan accuses Jared in one of the weirdest lines ever: “You timed that perfectly…but you’re not the only one who can throw a frisbee!” Well, aren’t you a badass? Ivan throws the frisbee (behind his back!), and it soars into the distance. Chuck(?), who’s now suddenly wearing a blue cap backwards, wants to recruit Ivan as the new captain of their frisbee team. Frisbee team. Frisbee. Team. Anyway, even Jughead now thinks Ivan’s weird.

Archie tells Ivan to ignore those assholes. Ivan thanks Archie for defending him and advises him to keep away from Jared, saying he’s not what he appears to be. There are puddles on the walkway, and then it starts to rain. Jared says it’s starting to rain “again” and suggests they get going. So it was raining during the homeroom scene earlier.

Later that afternoon, as the rain’s coming down hard, a shadowy figure races through the streets to deliver “incredible” news.

Meanwhile, inside Pop’s (close to where the shadowy figure was running), Archie says Ivan and Jared are “definitely not friends”. No shit, Sherlock. Betty makes a dumb joke about marrying one of them and being unable to invite the other.

Reggie (the shadowy figure) arrives. Jughead asks “S’up, Reg?” Ooh, apostrophe catastrophe! The gang had thought Reggie was with his “new best friend”, Jared. He was, and Jared told him this about Ivan: They went to the same school. Ivan was always a “weird dude”. His family lived in an old Victorian house, and his parents came out only at night. Ivan dresses in black all of the time and tries to avoid the sun. Jared also supposedly heard a rumor that Ivan once tried to bite a girl on the neck. Reggie guesses Ivan might be a vampire, but he’s all “scary” about it, so no one believes him.

Jughead says that’s “whack”. Archie says vampires aren’t real. Veronica says she wouldn’t believe what Jared says, because he and Ivan are enemies. Reggie says Ivan has both girls under his spell. He warns the girls again and then puts on his hoodie and leaves. Hmm, what’s with all of the green sweatshirts with hoodies in this story? Archie thinks Reggie’s losing it. Jughead’s hiding under the table and asks the others if Reggie’s gone, even though he hid under the table only after Reggie started walking away from them.

Later that week, at the Riverdale Zoo, Ms. Grundy’s homeroom class arrives. She jokes a bit. A random student thanks Jared for coming through with the passes. Okay, but how did Jared convince Mr. Weatherbee to approve this trip? A random girl says this is better than sitting through French medieval history. How random. We learn from Archie and Jughead’s dialogue that, last time, Jughead swiped a banana from a chimp and got thrown out. Veronica and Betty have an agreement: they’ll both hang out with Ivan and let him choose between them.

Soon, as Ivan, Betty, and Veronica head toward the flying creatures exhibit, Veronica volunteers them as his zoo guides. Betty adds she worked here last summer on the maintenance crew, so she knows where all of the “best trash bins” are. Great pick-up line, Bets. Ivan declines their offer, but they won’t take no for an answer and invade his personal space. Reggie and Archie observe this, and Reggie twists it into Ivan hitting on the girls. Archie tells Reggie to shut up and stop trying to make him jealous.

Reggie warns Archie about Ivan. He also refers to Betty and Veronica as their two best friends. Archie accuses Reggie of being jealous and walks off. Jared comes by with a plan to out Ivan as a vampire. He thinks Ivan’s on his way to the world of darkness.

Sure enough, soon, Ivan and the girls arrive at The World of Darkness (the flying creatures exhibit). As they enter the building, Betty and Veronica gets into an argument over Ivan’s fascination with bats. According to Betty, Veronica screams when she sees a butterfly. Ivan talks about bats’ helpfulness to humans. Veronica pretends to be interested in what Ivan’s interested in. Jared and Reggie observe them from a distance. Jared got a key from his dad’s office. He’s gonna unlock the door to the room where the bats are kept. Reggie’s gonna turn out all of the lights, so it’s totally dark. Then Jared will grab Ivan and lock him in with the bats. Then Reggie will turn the lights back on. Reggie asks Jared how he’ll see Ivan in the dark. Jared says he’s strong, he’s fast, and he sees very well in the dark. In the panel in which he says this, his skin is pale, and his eyes are red, but this isn’t addressed. Instead, he’s back to normal in the next panel, and he wants to show Reggie where the main light switch is.

A few minutes later, Ivan and the girls are looking at the bats. Veronica asks him how bats communicate, he answers, and Betty makes a texting joke. Veronica tries to get romantic with Ivan. Suddenly, the lights go out. Jared grabs Ivan. Veronica calls out for Ivan. A loud slam is heard.

The lights come back on (“sort of”, according to Betty, which I guess is supposed to mean back-up lights, but it looks the same as normal). As the girls hold onto each other, Veronica asks where Ivan is.

Actually, he’s fine, and he’d locked Jared in the bat room. Ha. He doesn’t take credit for it, though. As the bats attack Jared, he calls out for help. Betty runs off to find a security guard. Veronica asks Ivan if the bats will hurt Jared. Ivan says no, but he fears Jared might hurt the bats. He focuses on Jared and the bats and dramatically commands “Rest!”

They fall asleep. Veronica asks Ivan how he did it. He says it doesn’t matter, says goodbye to her, and leaves. Betty arrives with the security guard. Betty asks Veronica what happened. Veronica has a hard time explaining.

The next day, after school, while dark storm clouds fill the sky, Veronica catches up with Ivan outside the forest outside town. She got worried when Ivan didn’t show up at school today. (We learn Archie used the “grandmother died” excuse three times while skipping school.) He stayed away because of what happened at the zoo, guessing people are pretty freaked out about it. Jared’s saying it proves Ivan’s a vampire, but most people (including her) don’t believe him. Ivan admits he’s a vampire, but he says he takes a “special substance” in place of feeding on human blood.

Veronica is unsure and says Jughead claims he was brought here by aliens. Ivan believes that. Veronica cares what happens to Ivan and says Jared is out to get him. Ivan says it’s because he knows Jared’s “terrible secret”. He says, if he doesn’t stop him, all of Riverdale is in “grave danger”. This surprises Veronica. The note at the end says it’s the end of “Book One”.

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Part 2

This doesn’t actually happen in the story.

Archie runs to confront Veronica and Ivan in the woods and separate them – just as Ivan and Veronica profess their eternal love for each other and Veronica calls Archie a “total loser”. Archie warns Veronica that Ivan’s a vampire and tries to get her away from him. Veronica vamps out, scaring the shit out of Archie.

Veronica wakes up in her skimpy lingerie and realizes she’s had another nightmare. Wait, so she was dreaming from Archie’s perspective? That’s weird. Anyway, she hasn’t had a “normal” dream since she started seeing Ivan. She wishes her subconscious mind would shut up.

She takes her diary out of a drawer in her night stand and says it’s beginning to read like a vampire novel. She silently reads her diary entries, which serve as a recap of Part 1. The artwork doesn’t quite match, though. Veronica is unsure whether Ivan really is a vampire or just doesn’t find her attractive. She finds him being a vampire to be more believable. She realizes she’s hurt Reggie (who’s not speaking to her) and Archie (who’s trying to be understanding).

At that moment, Archie and Jughead are driving through the deserted streets of Riverdale. Oddly, Archie asks Jughead why he should care if Veronica is dating a possible vampire. He debates whether to tell her and admits he might be jealous. Suddenly, something hits Archie’s car, seriously denting its hood. They then hear a loud howl.

Jughead says there’s something moving in front of Mr. Hoppelmyer’s house and compares it to a horror movie, saying they’re gonna be eaten. Archie points out that it’s just Ivan. Ivan looks beat up. Archie gets out of his car, runs over to help him, and asks what happened. Ivan says it was Jared and frantically looks for his phone.

Archie finds it, but it’s been crushed. Ivan says there goes his evidence. Mr. Hoppelmyer comes out and shakes his fist at them, saying he just called the police. He can’t see them, because the headlights from Archie’s car are shining from behind them. Ivan has life-and-death shit to discuss with Archie and begs him to get him out of here. As the police siren is heard, Jughead mistakes it for an ice cream truck (fucking dumbass). Archie corrects him, and the three of them get in his car and speed off.

Ivan explains things. Jared is a werewolf, and Ivan enrolled at Riverdale High to keep track of him. Because of the full moon tonight, Ivan knew Jared would be transforming, so he followed him, hoping to get it on his phone. Jared sensed his presence and attacked him. Then Jared ran off, scared by Archie’s headlights. Ivan wishes Jared would let him help him to get better.

Ivan says Jared can’t accept what he is, so he wants to use video of the transformation and a threat of exposure to make him seek a cure. Archie is dubious, says good luck, and drops him off at home. Ivan begs for Archie’s help, saying Jared is getting stronger and more violent with each transformation. He’s gonna try to record Jared again tomorrow (despite what he says, it’ll technically be a waning gibbous moon). Archie asks what if Jared attacks him (Archie). Ivan says he has a plan.

The following afternoon, at Pop’s, Archie meets with the girls. Betty thinks Ivan’s just getting back at Jared by making up a story of his own. Archie is unsure and notices Veronica seems out of it. Veronica is in tears, because Ivan won’t see her and doesn’t return her calls or answer her texts.

Archie’s sure Ivan’s doing it to protect her. Veronica says Archie should stay out of it, too. Archie says he promised he’d help Ivan. Citing the “pretty weird stuff” that went on last night, Archie somewhat believes Ivan’s story. Ivan wants Archie to meet him at the zoo and record Jared’s transformation while Ivan distracts him. Betty jokes about it. Archie says he’s gotta go home and borrow his dad’s camcorder. He tells the girls to not say anything to Reggie, who’s in the booth behind the girls and overhears (despite the fact that the booth was clearly empty on the previous page).

That evening, “under another full moon”, Archie waits with “his” camcorder on a hill overlooking the Riverdale Zoo. Archie realizes he’s an idiot for helping the guy that took Veronica away from him.

Suddenly, Betty, Veronica, and an unwilling Jughead arrive (they told him that they were going to an all-you-can-eat buffet). Archie says he appreciates their support but doesn’t need it. Betty sees someone. Archie realizes it’s Jared and starts recording him. He wonders where Ivan is. Betty sees someone else. Archie realizes it’s Reggie.

Reggie warns Jared about the “set-up”, although Reggie somehow thinks Archie wants to record Jared and Ivan “fighting” and use it against Jared. Jared says Reggie shouldn’t have come here. Reggie tipped the cops off about “Dracula” regarding last night’s disturbance, and they just picked him up for questioning. Jared is pissed, saying Ivan will tell the cops about him. Reggie exclaimed “Back off, yo! I did you a favor!” I wonder if Reggie listens to phat beats and dope jams in his car. Jared wolfs out and tells Reggie to run. Reggie gets a funny line: “I–I’d love to…b-but I’m kinda frozen with fear here…”

Jared wolfs out, scaring Reggie.

Archie yells at Reggie to get outta there. Veronica expresses concern for Reggie and screams. This interrupts Jared before he can kill Reggie. Archie says they’ve got to get to his car now. Veronica believes Jared will never be able to climb the wall surrounding the zoo’s property. Archie says they can’t take that chance and pushes her. The four of them run up the hill.

Jared jumps over the wall. The gang has almost reached Archie’s car.

Archie’s plan is to drive while someone else calls the police. Jared jumps on the roof of Archie’s car before they can get in.

Ivan comes out of nowhere and tackles Jared to the ground. He asks Archie if he got the transformation on video, which he did. Ivan tells Jared and says it’s over.

Ivan advises the gang to go; he’ll stay with Jared until he transforms back, and then they’ll discuss things. Archie asks where he was. Ivan explains. Archie asks how he got away from the cops. Ivan would “rather not answer that” but thanks Archie for being such a good friend. Veronica asks Ivan about them. He says the only way that she could share his life is if she was a vampire, too, and he can’t ask her to do that. She says black isn’t her most flattering color. As the gang leaves, Veronica says goodbye and tells Ivan that she’ll never forget him.

A few nights later, Archie is driving himself, Veronica, Reggie, Betty, and Jughead to a hitherto-unmentioned dance. Veronica’s staying only long enough to show off her new designer gown, and then she’s leaving. A bat flies in front of Archie’s car, surprising him and Veronica.

Soon, at Riverdale High School, Veronica puts the kabosh on any dances tonight. She just wants to sit here looking “depressed but gorgeous”.

But Ivan has shown up at the Autumn Dance, surprising Veronica. He was hoping to have “one final dance” with her (um, I guess they’d danced together at some point) and do a better job with their goodbye. Veronica’s delighted to see him but asks why he didn’t tell her that he was coming. As they start to dance, Ivan says “I really don’t like to make plans, Veronica. Sometimes it’s best just to wing it!” Ugh. Veronica’s stunned expression says it all.

This story was okay. As a parody of Twilight, I wasn’t expecting much.

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Comics – The Case of the Sorrel Roan

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Writer: Bill Ewing
Art: Thomas Pitilli
Colors: Andre Szymanowicz
Letters: John Workman
Original Publication: Riverdale, No. 3
Cover Date: July, 2017
On-Sale Date: June 7, 2017
Length: 10 pages

In the office of The Blue and Gold (Riverdale High’s newspaper), on Tuesday night, at 9:45 PM, Betty is working, and Jughead is eating and drinking. Jughead’s miffed that he has to cover “the banalities of high school” instead of spending 100% of his time writing about Jason. They argue about it for a bit. Betty gets on Jughead’s case about being wordy. She also namedrops Ms. Haggly as their English teacher. She’s a teacher from the classic comics. Then Cheryl walks in (for some reason, this warrants a gasp from Betty), wearing mostly black (except for a red band in her black hat) and holding a red purse, and says “#Bughead? I need your help…” I fucking love Cheryl.

Cheryl thinks her dad is having an affair. She cites his being distant as well as abruptly ending phone calls whenever he sees her. Cheryl is in tears, and she says she won’t trouble “Mother” with this until she has proof. Supposedly, Clifford has Sheriff Keller “bought and paid for”, so going to the police is out. Citing the “almost Hitchcockian interest” that Betty and Jughead have taken in her family since “Jay-Jay” died, she figures maybe helping her with this is the least that they could do. Betty is uncertain, saying it isn’t really what they do. Jughead privately suggests to Betty that a potential affair possibly coinciding with Jason’s death might be worth knowing. Betty agrees but tells Jughead that he’s covering next Friday’s volleyball game. Jughead agrees to take the case but tells Cheryl that she’ll possibly be charged fees.

At the Riverdale Men’s Athletic Club, on Wednesday morning, at 6:15 AM, Betty and Jughead spy on Clifford swimming laps in the pool. Jughead references The Maltese Falcon. Betty makes a comment. Jughead starts to respond to it.

He finishes it outside The Five Seasons restaurant at 8:17 AM (okay, that was damn sloppy). Betty tells him to shut the fuck up. They observe Clifford going inside. They go inside and, sitting at another table, witness Clifford and Mayor Sierra McCoy making boring business talk over (according to Jughead) a breakfast of egg whites, although it looks like they’re having drinks.

Jughead wonders a bit about their futures and then wonders if Clifford and Sierra are using their business dealings as a smokescreen. Betty wonders, too, since Mr. McCoy is always on the road. She decides to follow her and tells Jughead to follow Mr. Blossom. Jughead starts to object. Betty asks if he’s gonna miss her. He says nope, but he thinks maybe.

On the Old Mill Road, at 10:23 AM, Jughead observes Clifford out “in in the woods” [sic]. The rain starts pouring. Jughead starts taking pictures with his cell phone. He observes Clifford going to a house. Jughead has already skipped Woodshop and Algebra, and Ms. McCone would “kill” Jughead if he missed Biology. What the fuck is Jughead talking about? He’s got a male teacher for Biology, and it’s possibly during fifth period.

It turns out that Clifford came to see a certain female – a Sorrel Roan horse. Oh, and he’s also fucking her owner, Ellen. Jughead gets pics.

At Pop’s, over burgers, fries, and sodas, Betty informs Jughead that she’d followed Mayor McCoy back to city hall, where she lied to her and got to snoop around her office for a few minutes. She saw her calendar. Sierra and Clifford have a standing breakfast meeting, once per month, on the books. She starts to repeat Jughead’s earlier theory of them using it as a cover, but he shows her the pics on his phone. Betty’s shocked and…I’m sorry, is that a cigar that she’s holding? I guess it’s supposed to be a burnt fry, but who holds a fry like that?

Betty feels awful for “poor Cheryl”; she’d been hoping to prove Cheryl wrong. Jughead’s all cynical and shit. Betty asks him what they tell her. Jughead says they present her with their findings.

At the Riverdale High gymnasium, on Thursday afternoon, at 3:20 PM, after River Vixens practice, Jughead starts to prepare Cheryl for the truth. Cheryl is upset. Jughead and Betty sadly look at each other. Jughead shows Cheryl a pic of Clifford and Ellen on his phone. Cheryl brightens up, relieved. She grins. Jughead starts to tell her to do something, but Betty cuts him off and asks Cheryl why she’s relieved. Ellen is Cheryl’s dressage coach. Clifford had told Cheryl that he was getting her an early birthday present this week. He’d spent a lot of time picking it out. She guesses he must be buying her a horse, and that’s why he’s been shady around her. Jughead tells her to keep swiping right, but Betty tells her that she’ll see the horse and advises against ruining the surprise. She takes the phone out of Cheryl’s hands. Cheryl agrees. She’s so excited and happy, and she tells them that they’re the best. She waves goodbye and leaves.

That night, at The Blue and Gold, at 8:33 PM, Betty and Jughead are at they’re usual tasks (working and pigging out, respectively). It’s raining hard. Jughead tells Betty that she did the wrong thing with Cheryl. Betty angrily disputes that, saying maybe Cheryl deserves a break and a chance to believe her father is decent. Jughead says they’re stewards of the truth. While Betty says, as journalists, the truth is absolute, she also says “I think that, as friends, the truth can sometimes be less important than…protection. That’s what we did for Cheryl…” Jughead agrees. I disagree. That’s not being a good friend (and Betty does consider Cheryl her friend). Betty really should have taken Cheryl aside privately, shown her the pics, and offered her a hug and a shoulder to cry on. If Cheryl finds out the truth independently, she’ll realize Betty and Jughead concealed it from her, and she might get angry at them. Being confronted with the truth might be harder on Cheryl in the short term, but, in the long term, she’ll know she has a true friend that will be honest with her, no matter what.

Anyway, they banter as they get back to covering “the banalities of high school”.

This was a nice story! My only real issue, of course, is Betty’s decision to conceal the truth from Cheryl.

So…what happened to the “Destruction!” story promised in the previous issue?

After the story is a lightweight, six-page look at the characters (including the introduction page), a one-page cover gallery, and the cover for the next issue.

Comics – Betty & Veronica: Vixens, No. 10

Betty-and-Veronica-Vixens-10.jpgWriter: Jamie Lee Rotante
Art: Sanya Anwar
Colors: Elaina Unger
Letters: Rachel Deering
Original Publication: Betty & Veronica: Vixens, No. 10
Cover Date: November, 2018
On-Sale Date: September 26, 2018
Length: 18 pages

Before the story, there’s a recap of the previous issue on the credits page.

Sanya Anwar is back on art for the final issue.

Let’s get into it:

A crowd of people (probably mostly females) gather on a street in downtown Riverdale, hold signs, and chant in support of the Vixens. Of note, I can clearly recognize Ginger Lopez and Harper Lodge (Veronica’s wheelchair-bound cousin), who otherwise hadn’t appeared in this series until now. That might or might not be Josie McCoy standing behind Ginger.

People watch a news report on a TV in the window of a store (side note: LOL at the small, old-fashioned TV on sale for $50). RTV reporter Bobbi Suarez reports live just outside Riverdale, where a devastating explosion has decimated the abandoned Pickens Civil War Cabin on Crystal Lake, which was set to become a historical landmark. Doc’s been arrested. All of the captured women have been found and returned to safety. An anonymous source (who provided video footage) reveals the Vixens’ involvement and their identities; Betty, Midge, Ethel, Toni, Veronica (the leader), and Cheryl are outed as Vixens. Cheryl isn’t on the video, but she’s represented on the newscast through the use of an autographed photo of her in her cheerleading outfit. The girls’ whereabouts are currently unknown. Before we move on, a side note: Riverdale’s local station is usually called WRIV.

The ladies are hanging out in a field somewhere, watching the sunset or sunrise. Eve, bored, asks the “babes” if they’re done sight-seeing yet. She, Betty, Veronica, Ethel, Midge, and Toni are the only clearly-identifiable people in this scene. There’s no sign of Cheryl.

There’s a boom, which gets their attention. Is it thunder? Who knows? Toni asks Ethel if she still wants to sleep. Ethel refuses. The girls mount their bikes and ride off.

On the road, they come across another all-girl biker gang, and it turns out that they’re friendly to the Vixens.

One month later, at Riverdale High School, on the last day of school, Reggie asks the “suckers” about their summer plans. Archie doesn’t have much planned. Reggie guesses Archie’s still moping over Betty and Veronica, but Reggie’s moved on. Nancy misses them and tells Reggie to shut the fuck up. Archie and Reggie talk a bit more, and Reggie’s glad that Betty and Veronica didn’t get Nancy all caught up in their mess. Oh, yeah, Chuck has a silent cameo in this scene.

Later, Nancy is walking around downtown. A white guy in a car harasses her, and she takes a camera out of her bag and takes an old-fashioned Polaroid of him, temporarily blinding him. Do they even make those kind of cameras anymore? And why does Nancy have one?

She goes to Ambrose Mechanics. Ambrose lets her in and says “They’re upstairs.” Nancy goes upstairs and into a room. Harper says she knew Nancy would show up eventually.

It turns out that she, Ginger, Harper, and Brigitte Reilly are keeping a watch on the neighborhood watch. Nancy hands over the photo of a guy that’s been on a power trip, and Ginger adds it onto the “Wall of Shame”.

Harper is basically the Oracle of the group, handling their Internet operations. She sends out mass e-mails. Brigitte checks their message board. Ambrose comes in with drinks and offers to help, but they’ve got it covered. This is their safe space. He misses Bubbles, and he’s offering his services because of her. Ginger tries to assure him that she’s fine. She wonders where the Vixens are.

One month later, the Vixens are riding through Milwaukee. Through Betty’s narration, we learn they were surprised to meet so many like-minded individuals. She also immediately contradicts the one month later time placement, since it’s been only one month since they left Riverdale, and there had already been a time jump of one month just a few pages earlier. Anyway, the ladies love every minute of their summer on the open road.

A map shows the girls’ cross-country journey (without going through Milkwaukee). Riverdale seems to be on the New York – New Jersey border. Anyway, they do various charitable things along the way: building houses, putting up puppies and kittens for adoption (this seems to be the only appearance of Cheryl), running a toy drive, and lecturing bullies. They wanted their message to be one of positive change.

Betty says a few of them even decided to stick around some of the states that they visited, and Betty can’t blame them, but she admits they get a little homesick. At the Port of San Francisco, she, Veronica, Midge, Ethel, and Toni hang out. A little girl comes up to them, knowing Veronica and Betty’s names. The Vixens are “kind of” her heroes.

She brings up a video on her tablet. In the interview for RTV, Ginger says they want to continue the work that the Vixens started. They’ve started a collective to connect young women “and those who identify as such”. They offer advice, helpful tips, and safe spaces. They meet up every Wednesday at Pop’s to brainstorm. The town has been incredibly supportive of their efforts. Even Mr. Weatherbee is involved. Ginger concludes by saying this wouldn’t have happened without the Vixens.

The video continues with a message of support for Betty from Hal and Alice Cooper. The unnamed mayor (possibly Elena Martinez from 2012’s “Occupy Riverdale” story in Archie, No. 635) says Hiram Lodge announced the dismantling of the neighborhood watch committee. Hiram announces Hermione is forming a new committee to fulfill the needs of everyone. Hermione briefly talks about it but then addresses Veronica, saying she and Hiram miss her terribly. Hiram says they’re glad that Veronica is their daughter, admits he was wrong, and says the Vixens are welcome back in Riverdale any time.

Once the video ends, the girl asks the Vixens where they’re going next. Betty and Midge look at each other. Veronica says “Home.”

During sunset or sunrise, as the girls ride, Midge asks what comes next. Toni suggests summer school like she’s not sure, but I’m pretty sure they flunked all of their classes, and summer school ain’t gonna help them. Anyway, Veronica asks what then. Betty says “Senior year.” The Vixens ride into Riverdale. The end.

Before I get into the story, here’s the extras. After the story is a one-page cover gallery for this issue and another Riverdale Gazette article (dated September of 2018); this one features two roller derby teams, Southern Harm Derby Dames of South Atlanta, GA, and Coal Miners’ Daughters of Gillette, WY. Jamie Lee Rotante thanks the readers and looks forward to “next time” (meaning her new Betty & Veronica series, which will apparently be a five-issue miniseries). Finally, there’s an ad for the Vixens Volume Two trade paperback.

I think this issue felt way too rushed. Then again, it was doomed to be that way, considering it had to wrap everything up. Being only 18 pages long certainly didn’t help, and there were a few pages where not much happened, so better use of space could have been made. Cheryl got lost somewhere along the way (did she stay behind in one of those states?), despite being prominently featured on the front cover. So did Eve. Bubbles didn’t even appear.

I think this series would have worked better in an episodic, rather than serial, format. We basically got two storylines over ten issues, which took ten months to come out. Rather than dragging things out, have each issue be mostly self-contained; simply let the overall threat and stakes escalate from issue to issue without being tied to one storyline.

Another approach would be been to do a series of pulp novels, released cheaply as e-books and a bit more expensive for POD physical copies. Even one novel would have been able to go into more depth than this comic series, which totals 192 comic pages.

There seem to have been problems behind the scenes after issue #5. Jen Vaughn replaced Eva Cabrera on art for #6 and #7. Then Vaughn was replaced by Sanya Anwar for #8; Anwar was already credited in the solicitation for #9, except Eva Cabrera returned to do the interior art. Then Anwar came back for the final issue. Also, Elaina Unger needed help from Matt Herms coloring the art on issues #7 and #9. Add to all of that the occasional issue (even before #6) that began with a page that seemingly had nothing to do with the story (suggesting the script ran short, so some unused cover art was stuck in to boost the page count), and everything feels kind of clunky.

Still, overall, I enjoyed the series. It seems to be in continuity with the upcoming Betty & Veronica miniseries (which, being explicitly set during senior year and dealing with graduation, is perhaps set outside “normal” continuity, not that it really matters). I look forward to seeing what the girls do next!

Comics – The $hopping $cene!

Betty-and-Veronica-270
Writer: George Gladir
Pencils: Jeff Shultz
Inking: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica, No. 270
Cover Date: April, 2014
Length: 6 pages

Another inventory story.

At Lodge Manor, Mr. Lodge tells Veronica and Betty, since he’s thinking of hiring them as interns in their marketing department, he’s arranged for them to meet a veteran marketing friend of his. He freaks out when Veronica says she and Betty have scheduled “mucho shopping trips” – and are taking a van (supposedly, Betty had suggested a larger vehicle).

After the girls leave, Hiram expresses his disappointment in the girls to Hermione. Apparently, earlier, they both showed much promise with some innovative marketing ideas (pop-up stores at his mall during the holiday season and live models in some of the mall display windows).

On their way to the Riverdale Mall, Veronica, who’s driving the van, mentions she picked up on her father’s disappointment. Betty asks if she explained to him why they’re shopping. Veronica claims she didn’t have the time, because she was busy planning their vlog post for tomorrow.

Later, Mr. Lodge sees Veronica and “her van” return. She surprises him by carrying only one bag (from Lacy’s). Apparently, she and Betty just “dumped” all of their purchases at Betty’s place, which confuses him. She says it was a “big haul”. Exhausted, she wishes her parents good night and heads upstairs. Hermione smiles, seemingly proud of her daughter.

Hiram is disappointed in Veronica. He’d been hoping Betty would be a good influence on her. Instead, Veronica has seemingly turned Betty into a chronic shopper.

The next morning, Veronica comes downstairs. Hiram informs her that he’s planning an important marketing meeting today and would like the girls to attend. The girls have their vlog, and Veronica doesn’t know if they can make it. Hiram’s upset that they want to brag online about their shopping prowess.

At Lodge Industries headquarters, the meeting is regarding how they can connect with the back-to-school shoppers in the coming months. A woman points out a video by local vloggers, and then she has to explain to Hiram what they are. Hiram wants to see the video. It’s Betty and Veronica’s video, of course. On The B&V Show, they show off “some really cool items” for back-to-school. Hiram is astonished. He then criticizes the lack of production values and the girls’ ages, both of which the woman says are strengths, considering the target audience.

The woman also says one of the nation’s top vloggers is a 14-year-old with over 50,000 subscribers. Um, no, that’s nowhere near the top. If she’d said 5,000,000, then I’d take her a bit more seriously.

Anyway, the woman also talks about this basically being free advertising, but they usually give the vloggers free samples. Hiram wonders where he’s been all this time. Veronica and Betty walk in. Hiram wants to hire them as vloggers. Veronica flatly rejects it, saying vloggers are independent and can recommend the products of any company, but she adds a lot of stores in his mall carry products that they love. Hiram’s mind is blown by the girls’ tech-saviness, and Veronica good-naturedly makes fun of her ancient dad.

This was a nice story. It’s nice to see them addressing something current.

Comics – The Wish!

Betty-and-Veronica-270
Writer: George Gladir
Pencils: Jeff Shultz
Inking: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica, No. 270
Cover Date: April, 2014
Length: 6 pages

Another inventory story.

At Betty’s house, Betty and Polly have just finished eating a meal in the kitchen and are about to partake in a “wishbone tussle”. Polly asks Betty about her wish. Betty’s decided but doesn’t reveal what it is. Betty wins, and Polly again asks her about her wish. Betty wished Veronica loses her hold on Archie, so Archie automatically becomes hers. The meal made Betty sleepy, so she goes upstairs and goes to bed.

In “Dreamland”, after four years of “intensive study”, Betty graduates from Super Hero Academy with high honors and becomes an official super hero. To Betty, this means now having a level playing field with Veronica. Apparently, super powers can compete with a “posh” lifestyle. She ditches her cap and gown, revealing her costume underneath, which is just her SuperTeen costume (SuperTeen is Betty’s superhero alter ego in the AU stories where she and the others are part-time superheroes), except it just says “BC” instead of “ST”, so there’s no secret identity involved. Anyway, she flies out of Super Hero Academy (established 1938), diploma in hand, heads for Riverdale, and vows Archie will soon be hers.

Betty arrives in the park and shows off her powers (by doing push-ups), trying to impress Archie. She predicts they’ll “be able to win every TV dance contest” with their “action moves” and also win every car race (by cheating). Betty believes they’ll become world famous and wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.

Veronica comes by and addresses Betty, and Betty corrects her that it’s “Super Betty” to her. Archie dumps Veronica, claiming her posh lifestyle gave him an inferiority complex. Betty’s delighted, but Archie reveals her super powers give him a super inferiority complex, and he dumps her ass as well. This shocks Betty. As Ethel walks by, Archie points her out as an example of the “plain, simple girl” that he needs: she’ll always look up to him as “someone special”.

As Archie and Ethel walk off together, Archie declares her to be his “true soulmate”. She tells “Archiekins” that “[her] heart cries out for [him] alone”. Veronica’s happy, because Ethel has spared her the trouble of dumping “Carrot-Top”. Betty sobs at the loss of her “one and only”.

Betty wakes up the next morning, goes downstairs, and tells Polly about her “weird dream” with a message: the whole “be careful what you wish for” thing. Polly’s confused. Also, what the fuck is Polly wearing?! Who wears a red short-sleeved shirt over a green long-sleeved shirt?

This was an okay story. It doesn’t count for much except what goes on in Betty’s unconscious mind.

Comics – The Winning Float!

Betty-and-Veronica-270
Writer: George Gladir
Pencils: Jeff Shultz
Inking: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica, No. 270
Cover Date: April, 2014
Length: 6 pages

This is obviously an inventory story, since the writer, longtime Archie Comics writer George Gladir, died on April 3, 2013 (at age 87). So, for around a year (or more), the script for this story sat in a desk drawer or filing cabinet somewhere until Archie Comics finally decided to have it illustrated and published.

That and it’s a homecoming story that very obviously takes place in autumn.

Outside Riverdale High School, Betty and Nancy show Veronica Chuck’s design for their class float. Betty and Nancy think they stand a good chance of winning the “best float” award at Friday’s homecoming game.

Reggie comes by, having just see the float made by their senior class (so I guess they’re juniors in this story). He says there’s no way that they’re gonna top them and is telling them so they don’t get their hopes “to high” [sic]. Betty insults Reggie.

As Reggie leaves, Archie and Chuck come by. Archie tells them to not pay any attention to Reggie. Time is short, and Betty wants their help in making the float. Unfortunately, Coach Kleats has them practicing overtime, hoping they’ll beat “tough” Central High in the “big” homecoming game. Maria comes by and offers to help. Betty gladly accepts and seeks Maria’s opinion on Chuck’s design. Maria loves it but thinks it calls for using flowers instead of paper mache. Um, Betty literally just showed Maria a picture of a bulldog standing on top of a blue-and-gold football; building materials had yet to be mentioned. Anyway, Betty agrees but wonders where to get all of the flowers. Maria’s aunt owns a florist shop on Main and practically guarantees a donation. Veronica goes with Maria to check it out.

At Cruz Florist, “Auntie” readily agrees, claiming to live near the Rose Bowl as a teen and help with “many a float”. All of the girls put in a lot of work on their float.

On homecoming night, at halftime, Riverdale and Central are tied 13-13. The winner’s trophy for the best float goes to the juniors (Betty and company). Mr. Weatherbee presents the trophy to Betty, Veronica, and Maria. Nancy, the black girl, is conspicuously absent.

The football team arrives for the second half. Betty notes they look a little worried and tense. Veronica says they need something to cheer them up. Jughead, the mascot, arrives in the bulldog costume and makes the players laugh. Throughout the “hard-played” second half, neither team is able to score and break the tie.

With only seconds to go, Riverdale attempts a field goal and wins 16-13. To celebrate, Veronica decides to throw a victory party at her home and invites the entire football team. As the guys cheer, Nancy secretly tells Maria and Betty that this is really a celebration of their victory. Maria and Betty are amused.

This was a pretty good story. Nothing else to say.

Comics – The Minds of Betty & Veronica!

Betty-and-Veronica-270.jpg
Writer: Angelo Decesare
Pencils: Jeff Shultz
Inking: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica, No. 270
Cover Date: April, 2014
Length: 6 pages

As of now, the blog no longer has a fixed day of the week to update. Instead, you can look forward to an update sometime each week.

This story is introduced by an omniscient narrator, who’s promptly dropped after the first panel. Anyway, the premise of this story is finding out what BFFs Betty and Veronica think about.

It doesn’t get off to a good start, since they’re each hoping the other doesn’t show up at school today, so she can have Archie all to herself.

They’re disappointed to run into each other on the sidewalk but pretend to be thrilled to see each other. Each of them asks if the other has seen Archie today and then thinks the other is lying for denying it. Archie shows up, and the girls act bored to see him but are secretly thrilled.

At Riverdale High School, in Chemistry class, Professor Flutesnoot warns the students to be careful handling the chemicals. Betty asks Archie for help, and he agrees. Veronica seems less than thrilled until she imagines Archie causing an accident that destroys Betty’s appearance and then deciding to ask Veronica to tonight’s dance.

Later, at lunch, Betty can’t find Veronica, who was supposed to meet her here. She’s upset when she sees Veronica sitting with Archie at a table for two. Veronica apologizes and says it was the only table that was available. Betty pretends it’s all good but then imagines dumping her food on Veronica – and Archie inviting Betty to go out later and celebrate her “awesomeness”.

At dismissal, the girls race through the halls to find Archie before the other does. As they both find him, they think unkindly of each other.

Betty needs help with soccer practice for a big game tomorrow. Veronica needs research help with a big project due tomorrow. Archie tells them to shut the fuck up, because he can’t understand what the fuck they’re saying when they’re “blabbering” in his face at the same time. They take offense to this, ditch a confused Archie, and help each other. As the BFFs walk away arm-in-arm, they reaffirm their friendship but secretly hope the other doesn’t show up tomorrow.

So that was…a story. Basically, the takeaway is these supposed BFFs maintain a facade, fight over Archie, get pissed at Archie, help each other, and then look forward to fighting over Archie again tomorrow, and this supposedly goes on, day after day. Who behaves like this?