Review: Betty & Veronica #2

I like getting review copies from Archie Comics. With a few exceptions, they’ve been firing on all cylinders with the new Riverdale. I reviewed the first issue, and found it wanting a little, but when Adam Hughes produces an entire comic book, not just the cover, I’ll read the second issue.

bettyandveronica2016_02-0BETTY & VERONICA #2

The latest hit New Riverdale series continues to defy expectations with some major surprises: including besties turning into enemies! The battle no one expected hits its peak as Betty and Veronica declare all-out war on each other! It’s a battle of benefits as Betty tries to raise money to save Pop’s, while Ronnie’s staging her own competing fundraisers in move destroy Betty’s efforts. All bets are off as the girls go from best pals to cutthroat competitors. You’ve never seen a car wash like this! Will the two icons find their way back to friendship, or is this the end of one of the longest-running partnerships in history?

Script: Adam Hughes
Art: Adam Hughes, José Villarrubia, Jack Morelli
Cover: Adam Hughes
Variant Covers: David Mack, Allison Sohn, Rachael Stott, Kevin Wada
On Sale Date: 11/9
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Variant Covers:

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Preview Pages:

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I actually like this better than the first issue. It’s got a more cohesive feel, like the story and the visuals better mesh. The story better meshes with the New Riverdale, but still seems to exist on its own. Adam Hughes provides, once again fantastic artwork, only relying on large impressive images a couple times, and making the art serve the story. His style is so hyper-naturalistic that the sound effects seem more like design choices than a conventional, purpose-driven effect.

I’m buying the whole Pop’s Choklit Shoppe story that is driving this wedge between the two lead characters, and Veronica is on equal footing with Betty here. She has a motivation here that seems malicious and greedy, but works for her motivations outside of those baser emotions. Betty seems so emotional invested in her goal that we see what happens when someone convinced that their right starts to see their efforts be for naught. As I write this on Election Day, I naturally draw a parallel to what about a third of the country is going to experience come tonight. Adam Hughes makes it work here and while I’m not certain if the parallel is intentional, it is there. It might be missed by the majority of the readers who get to read this after Election Day.

As for Adam Hughes, he is definitely showing restraint, treating the girls like teenagers and not giving us cheesecake for the sake of cheesecake. They still look a little too mature, but more like young women instead of gorgeous models. His Archie and Jughead still need some work, but I like his Moose, and can really get into Hot Dog as the narrator of the story. Adam Hughes has a fondness for sheepdogs, and it’s nice to see a creator using a company-owned, work-for-hire project like this to indulge a passion.

All in all, I recommend this series now, as long as the creator stays in place, which I hope is for at least a second storyline past “Betty vs. Veronica.”