Writer: Jamie Lee Rotante
Art: Eva Cabrera
Colors: Elaina Unger
Letters: Rachel Deering
Original Publication: Betty & Veronica: Vixens, No. 1
Cover Date: January, 2018
On-Sale Date: November 22, 2017
Length: 19 pages
So I was all ready to review another story for this week when this arrived in my inbox:
A new B&V series in which they lead a biker gang? Okay, I was intrigued.
At first, I thought it was an AU series. Then I thought it was New Riverdale. Then I went back to AU, because I noticed an old car in Betty’s garage and the fact that Betty and Veronica often wear skirts and outdated hairstyles, so I figured it was set in the 1950s. But they also sometimes wear pants, other girls wear pants, Betty and Veronica casually curse and show off some cleavage in public, and the school is integrated. Also, the cover for issue #2 has Betty taking a selfie with Veronica, and that newspaper article has a November 2017 date. So I’m learning toward this being a New Riverdale title – but with a hell of a lot of retro in it.
Before I get into the story, I wanna address the art style. I don’t care for it. It’s kind of odd. It’s not bad; it just feels weird to me. I guess it fits with the tone that they’re going for.
Also, kudos for the all-female team. It’s a welcome change after Adam Hughes torpedoed the last B&V title after three issues.
Amazon says this book is 24 pages long, but there are only 19 pages of actual story.
It starts with Veronica, Betty, and their gang riding down a dirt road. They come to an RV and ride circles around it in an attempt to intimidate the Southside Serpent gang members inside it. As they ride off, Veronica and Betty do a fist bump.
Betty asks Veronica if she thinks that will scare them off. Veronica’s like “Fuck no, this was just a warning.” Betty brings up the possibility of retaliation. Veronica says then they fight back.
They come to a stop. Betty passes out her “toys” to her fellow gang members: brass knuckles. She has a pair for each of them. Someone (possibly Midge) asks what they’re for. Betty says protection. Oh, yeah, the Vixens wear black masks over their mouths and noses, so they look kind of like Bane.
Anyway, a guy invites the babes to come into his car. Betty and Veronica tell him to fuck off. He doesn’t find that acceptable and wants to kick Betty’s ass. Veronica brings him to his knees, and Betty says they’re gonna kick his ass.
We then get a flashback to three weeks earlier to see how this all started. A spring fling dance is coming up, which is an odd choice for an issue released in November. An intercom announcement reminds the students to buy their tickets for the dance this Friday. Is the dance on Friday, or is that when the tickets go on sale? Confusing matters, Veronica asks Betty if she has any fun plans this weekend. Betty says she’s just going to stay home and study, which is usual for her. Besides, Archie’s grounded again this weekend. Reggie arrives to scoop one of them up. Betty declines. Veronica accepts Reggie’s earlier offer to go cruising with him by Dead Man’s Curve tomorrow night. Betty is surprised and worried. She asks Veronica what her dad will say. Veronica plans to say she’s being tutored at Betty’s, but Betty refuses to be her cover. Betty brings up the danger, because the Serpents hang out there. Reggie says the Southside Serpents are a myth told by old folks to scare the teens. He also says the Battlin’ Boys can handle them. That’s the “gang” that he and Archie created, because gangs “are all the rage right now”. Reggie and Archie are going cruising on their bikes tomorrow night. Archie’s been using being “grounded” as a cover, so Betty wouldn’t find out. Reggie mentions a place called Logger’s Pond where he and Archie rode, but it doesn’t come up again. Reggie leaves. Betty asks Veronica when she’s leaving. Veronica says 9:00. Betty says she’ll meet her at Pop’s at 8:00.
On Saturday night, at 8:00 PM, at Pop’s, Betty’s having a milkshake and sharing fries with Veronica. So, yeah, the previous school scene was set on Friday, so what the hell was up with that intercom announcement?
Anyway, Veronica compliments Betty’s look but asks Betty if she’s sure about this. Betty is, saying she can afford to drop her GPA. Betty asks what cruising’s like. Veronica is very positive about it. Betty says she’s always wanted to ride a motorcycle. Veronica wants to, too. Betty can’t imagine it. Veronica says she enjoys “the thrills of the commoners”. Betty says maybe, if she rides, she’d actually get invited to do fun stuff, not just be asked to tutor people in math. Veronica says Betty might kill herself trying to ride one. Betty says her parents would kill her first. Using Veronica logic, Veronica suggests she go for it.
Archie and Reggie arrive. Archie’s surprised to see Betty and apologizes for lying. Betty says it’s fine. Archie upsets her by saying riding isn’t her “style”. There’s a cute visual gag where Veronica and Reggie reach for fries at the same time. Reggie is victorious. He suggests they split before it gets too late.
Outside, Reggie’s got a decent motorcycle, but Archie made his himself out of spare parts that he found at Pickens’ Junk Yard. Reggie says it’s a piece of shit. Archie disputes that. Veronica gets on Reggie’s bike, and Reggie tears off, pissing off Archie. Betty looks at Archie’s bike and says this isn’t safe. He gets on, and so does she. She mentions possible trouble. Archie promises they won’t pick fights with anybody. She questions the integrity of his bike, and he asks her to help him fix it. She agrees.
After they ride for a while, Betty asks to go faster, because Jellybean passed them on her fucking tricycle. What’s Jellybean doing out on the road at night? Anyway, Archie hits the gas, and Betty enjoys herself.
Archie brings the bike to a stop at a place called Spotty’s. He doesn’t feel well. Betty notes his front wheel needs to be screwed back on. The shit in Archie’s bag is useless, so she tells him to go inside and ask, and she can take care of it for him.
As luck would have it, Spotty’s is the Southside Serpents’ home base. A woman named Penny is chatting with her boyfriend, Fangs. These are Penny Peabody and Fangs Fogarty, the Little Archie versions of Midge and Moose. Fangs was also used in “The New Archies“:
Anyway, Archie comes in, sees a “South Side Serpents” [sic] banner, and runs the fuck out.
He gets on his bike. So does Betty. He crashes into the Serpents’ parked bikes, knocking them over, and then tears off. Some Serpents come out. Fangs finds a flyer for the spring fling dance (Friday night at 7:00) and declares war. (Why was Archie or Betty carrying flyers for the dance during a night of cruising?) He says they’re going to Riverdale. Penny is excited, but they leave her behind, because she’s a woman. She’s pissed at them. A Serpent throws a knife at the “Welcome to Riverdale” sign. So, wait, the Southside isn’t within Riverdale?
On Monday morning, there’s a lot of damage around town (what about Sunday?). At Riverdale High, Mr. Weatherbee speaks to the students in the auditorium. Basically, he has no proof, but he will expel any students that he finds “engaging in gang-like activities”.
After, Betty tells Archie that he shouldn’t have driven off like that. Archie asks if he should have let the Serpents kick his ass. Reminding him that he’s in a “gang”, Betty suggests he fight back. Archie hesitates and then admits he can’t. That’s what Betty thought.
Later, in Betty’s garage, Betty brings up Saturday night. Veronica thinks Betty and Archie fucked. Betty thinks Archie pissed off the Serpents, and now they’re coming back for revenge. She basically admits Archie’s fucking useless in this situation. Veronica admits the same about Reggie. Betty wants to do something about the Serpents, and Veronica approves.
Betty tries to describe the feeling of being on Archie’s bike. Veronica suggests orgasmic. Betty blushes and substitutes breathtaking. Betty says trying to do some good and help out in this town has gotten her stood up every weekend. She wants to help out but also get some thrill out of it. Veronica wants in on Betty’s “weird adventure club”. Betty unveils Suzie, a motorcycle that Betty has been working on for the past two years. Veronica is in awe.
Meanwhile, at the Serpents’ meeting spot (the RV), Fangs wants to hit Riverdale with more shit. Penny is eager to get in there with the girls and start shit, but Fangs cuts her out of the “man’s job”.
Back in Betty’s garage, Betty explains her grandpa left the bike to her dad in his will, and it’s never been touched. She’s be grounded for life if her parents found out that she’s been working on it. So…the bike has been touched. Betty wants to ride and thinks she can get the hang of it. After learning Veronica already knows how, Betty suggests they take on the Serpents. Veronica laughs at the thought of the two of them kicking the asses of a dangerous biker gang. Deciding they need strength in numbers, Veronica wants to recruit girls.
This was a pretty fun story! As I said, the artwork and ambiguity of the time period are a bit odd, but this is a good start to an ongoing series. The story is followed by a mini cover gallery, the fake newspaper article that I posted above, and the “selfie” cover of issue #2.
Tune in next Wednesday!