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Advance Review: Betty and Veronica Vixens #3

The story picks up a little bit in Betty and Veronica Vixens #3 as the Vixens hit up their first biker bar and get in a fight with some Neo-Nazis  courtesy of writer Jamie Lee Rotante, artist Eva Cabrera, and colorist Elaina Unger. It’s a hell of a cold open, and part of the big picture conflict between the Vixens riding bikes and looking cool and rebellious and them actually righting wrongs in the world. In an admirable move, Rotante and Cabrera don’t give a clear answer to this. The Vixens care very much about their friend/motorcycle guru Bubbles, whose boyfriend got beat up and lost her bike to the Southside Serpents, and also punch Nazis, but they also do random things like knock over trash cans and retaliate for being charged too much for chewing gum.

Who knew that color palettes could be so funny? But I laughed out loud when I turned the page from a grimy Neo-Nazi bar scene to the lush, primary color world of Riverdale High River Vixen practice thanks to Unger’s work at showing the clash between the Vixens’ old life as cheerleader and new life as bike riding vigilantes. Even though most of the girls and their antagonists wear black and white, Rotante and Cabrera give them pops of personality with different hair styles and color like Evelyn’s rebel blond and Betty’s All-American locks. But, as exhibited in her work on both volumes of Kim and Kim, Eva Cabrera’s real talent is action, and the lack of choreography and martial arts background from the Vixens is a kind of choreography on its own as Toni Topaz’s lands a blood splattering hook on a racist Nazi’s jaw.  On a more subtle level, there’s a great two panel sequence where Ethel realizes that the guys she’s been making small talk with are white supremacists, and there’s a look of terror on her face as it seems like the Vixens might be a little over their heads. (I did have issues telling Midge and Ethel apart throughout the comic.)

In Betty and Veronica Vixens #3, Jamie Lee Rotante continues to use a non-linear narrative interspersing high adrenaline biker girl scenes with less exciting flashback scenes that show how the gang came to be with their first vigilante exploits and a lot of issues with communication and coordination. Seriously, with school, extracurriculars, and possibly part time jobs, it’s really hard to get a bunch of high (or the opposite in Evelyn’s case) achieving high schoolers in the same place at the same time. At this point in the flashbacks, the gang is like Batman in his makeshift ninja costume falling off fire escapes, but they’ll be the opening splash page soon. There’s even a nifty training montage/double page spread.

Betty and Veronica Vixens #3 has solid action, team-building, and raises the stakes storywise while spending most of its story time on the Vixens members while those losers Archie, Jughead (Okay, him not so much.) , and Reggie are nowhere to be found. Jamie Lee Rotante, Eva Cabrera, and Elaina Unger continue to break the mold of Riverdale stories centered around love triangles and replace them a story of female friendship and Nazi punching.

Story: Jamie Lee Rotante Art: Eva Cabrera Colors: Elaina Unger
Story: 8 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy

Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review