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Early Preview: Betty & Veronica: Vixens #2

BETTY & VERONICA: VIXENS #2

Script: Jamie L. Rotante
Art: Eva Cabrera, Elaina Unger, Rachel Deering
Cover: Eva Cabrera
Variant Cover: Sanya Anwar
On Sale Date: 12/20
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

NEW ONGOING SERIES! The Vixens assemble—Betty and Veronica can’t take down a rival biker gang on their own; it’s time to call in some reinforcements; meet the newest additions to their gang!

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day tomorrow. What are folks excited for? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below. While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Fox 13 – San Diego Comic-Con vs. Salt Lake Comic Con is finally going to trial – How are more conventions not stepping up?

CBR – Franco Teases ‘Hard R’ Multiple Man X-Men Film, like Logan, Deadpool – Um, k.

The Outhouse – Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina #9 Delayed Until Maybe 2018 – Will we see this or Afterlife with Archie?

 

Reviews

Atomic Junk Shop – The Cross-Eyed Mutt

Talking Comics – Dark Fang #1

Advance Review: The Archies #3

The headliner of The Archies #3 is definitely a guest appearance from Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook, and Martin Doherty from Scottish indie synthpop band Chvrches leading to some intense starstruck moments from Archie and Betty while Jughead continues to look for food. However, writers Matthew Rosenberg and Alex Segura, artist Joe Eisma, and colorist Matt Herms don’t let one of the coolest current bands hog the spotlight and continue to focus on the dynamic between the Archies. Jughead kind of nails it when he mentions that he, Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Reggie are used to spending a lot of time together because Riverdale is a small town, but not 24/7 in various cities as a band. Staying in close quarters plus creative differences and a dollop of disaster and geeking out creates the plot and conflict of The Archies #3.

Band with multiple members who write their own songs and are multi-instrumentalists can be some of the best with the Beatles and Fleetwood Mac immediately coming to mind. However, The Beatles broke up after 10 years, and Fleetwood Mac have shuffled lineups over the past five decades with members like Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, and of course, Stevie Nicks doing solo or side projects and coming back to their original band ad nauseam. Add ego to the mix, and it’s even worse, which is why The Smiths will likely never reunite, and Morrissey will continue to make terrible solo albums.

The Archies experience some of these bands’ same issues in The Archies #3 when they nervously interact with the host on their first radio spot and end up playing a song Betty wrote while on tour instead of the single that Archie wanted. Combined with Betty and Archie’s romantic/friend history, it’s a super awkward moment and one of the tensest of the series. Rosenberg, Segura, and Eisma spend most of the issue exploring the fallout with Archie off doing his own thing at the record and comic book store while Betty tries to wrangle the band together. Between the lines, they look at the gendered criticism of a male artist being aloof and hard to work with getting the title of tortured artist while female artists get referred to as “divas”. The appearance of Chvrches in this issue works out for story purposes as well as general wish fulfillment because they trade off lead vocals between Lauren Mayberry and Iain Cook depending on the song and share all writing credits. There’s something the Archies could learn about synergy from them.

Matt Herms creates a terrific energy in The Archies #3’s opening splash page of Chvrches performing before an enthusiastic crowd. And then he turns off the epicness and goes for more bright and kooky as the Archies struggle through a radio interview/performance. Herms’ colors matches Joe Eisma’s art style, which ranges from divine (Any time Chvrches hits the stage) to slapstick-y (Jughead eating food, Reggie messing around with his base). They believe in the beauty of music as well as in the soapy drama of Riverdale teens and somehow mash it together in a way that isn’t dissonant. The gigs are sublime, and the in-between bits are breezy slice of life drama with lots of hijinks. The Archies are definitely not big stars even though they do have a bit of buzz.

Even though The Archies is named after him, Matthew Rosenberg, Alex Segura, Joe Eisma, and Matt Herms take the onus off Archie for bit in The Archies #3 and give Betty some time in the sun as a POV character. They use the feud between Archie and Betty to explore the gender dynamics in bands and also weave in an extended appearance from Chvrches that is both fun fanservice, a chance for Eisma to channel his inner Jamie McKelvie, and is thematically relevant making The Archies #3 the best issue of the series so far.

Story: Matthew Rosenberg and Alex Segura Art: Joe Eisma Colors: Matt Herms
Story: 8.7 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Betty & Veronica Comics Double Digest #258

BETTY & VERONICA COMICS DOUBLE DIGEST #258

Script: Dan Parent
Art: Jeff Shultz, Jim Amash, Glenn Whitmore, Jack Morelli
Cover: Bill Galvan, Rosario “Tito” Pena
On Sale Date: 11/15
160-page, full color comic
$5.99 U.S.

In the BRAND NEW Christmas story “The LAST Noelle,” Santa’s daughter Noelle wants to experience normal high school life—but if Betty & Veronica interfere, will Santa put them on his naughty list?

Preview: Archie and Me Comics Digest #2

ARCHIE AND ME COMICS DIGEST #2

Script: Dan Parent
Art: Bill Golliher, Bob Smith, Glenn Whitmore, Jack Morelli
Cover: Pat and Tim Kennedy, Bob Smith, Rosario “Tito” Pena
On Sale Date: 11/22
128-page, full color comic
$6.99 U.S.

In the BRAND NEW holiday story “Jingles Jangle,” Jingles the elf loses his holiday powers due to a spell cast by Sugarplum—so his only choice is to take up residence with Archie!

Preview: Your Pal, Archie! #4

ALL-NEW CLASSIC ARCHIE: YOUR PAL, ARCHIE! #4

Script: Ty Templeton
Art:  Dan Parent, Ty Templeton, Jack Morelli, Andre Szymanowicz
Cover: Dan Parent
Variant Cover: Les McClaine
On Sale Date: 11/22
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

After Mr. Lodge permanently bans Archie from the mansion, what happens when he finds Archie behind the wheel of his limousine? Plus, part 4 of the connecting variant cover image!

Review: Betty and Veronica Vixens #1

Betty and Veronica: Vixens #1 is part feminist critique of the patriarchy values of traditional (and some) Archie comics and part an excuse for artist Eva Cabrera (Kim and Kim) to draw badass girls on motorcycles beginning with breathtaking double page spread featuring plenty of black leather from colorist Elaina Unger. Writer Jamie Lee Rotante begins her tale in media res with a face-off between Betty and Veronica’s girl gang and the Southside Serpents before plunging into the origin story of how the rich girl and girl next door ended up becoming badass biker chicks.

By starting with bikes and attitude, Rotante, Unger, and Cabrera give readers a hook into the world of Betty and Veronica: Vixens before going back to the more traditional, pastel-y colors of the Archie universe where Betty keeps getting stood up by Archie, and Veronica escapes her privileged lifestyle by riding motorcycles with Reggie. However, the boys don’t really matter compared to Betty and Veronica, who drive the story unlike the previous book co-starring them, which had some nice pinup art, but mad the unfortunate choice of having Hot Dog as the narrator. Betty and Veronica: Vixens truly has a sleek modern style of storytelling with spare dialogue during action sequences and clean choreography with Rotante saving her words for enjoyable tete-a-tete’s between Betty and Veronica trying to find their identity in the white patriarchy of Riverdale and eventually deciding to take matters into their own hands.

Rotante plays with and challenges the traditional stereotypes of these two characters, and by extension, women in the Western world, and I can’t wait to see her take on the other women of Riverdale. (And Greendale: fingers crossed for a Sabrina appearance.) The traditional Archie narrative has been Betty and Veronica vying for the ginger goofball, but he’s dead weight in this comic and a wannabe poser, who can barely start his hog. (So many double entendres to unpack there, and in this comic in general.) They are the ones taking the active role against the Southside Serpents while the guys of Riverdale just make a lot of noise verbally and vehicularly, which is dismissed by Betty as “mating rituals” like they’re apes, who happen to wear clothes. This is definitely the Betty and Veronica show, and for once, the cold open and then crazy flashback structure doesn’t annoy me as I’m intrigued how two high school girls recruit and train a gang of badass motorcycle riders that talk trash and back it up with the aid of some handy brass knuckles because Rotante and Cabrera like to indulge in all the tropes.

The icing on the cupcake of the fantastic comic that is Betty and Veronica: Vixens is Eva Cabrera’s fantastic eye for fashion and aesthetic as evidenced by her previous work on the two Kim and Kim minis. Her styles are the comic book equivalent of “ready to wear” with the sleek, black styles of the girl gang fitting in with the fluid opening of the book, and her starchy late-80s teen movie look for Betty and Veronica working with the flashback, forced into gender roles part. Elaina Unger’s accentuate the styles with pastels for Betty and darker, earth tones for Veronica until they go all black everything in the motorcycle gang.

Towards the end of 2017, it seems like Archie Comics is going the “Elseworlds” approach with their non-flagship books, and Betty and Veronica: Vixens is a shining example of how this type of philosophy can be successful with quick one-liners and feminist critiques from writer Jamie Lee Rotante,  easy to read and stylish storytelling from artist Eva Cabrera, and a varied color palette from Elaina Unger that ranges from Rebel without a Cause to the suburban bits of Edward Scissorhands.

Story: Jamie Lee Rotante Art: Eva Cabrera Colors: Elaina Unger
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Riverdale #8

RIVERDALE #8

Script: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Will Ewing
Art: Thomas Pitilli, Andre Szymanowicz, John Workman
CVR A Reg: CW Photo Cover – Betty
CVR B Var: CW Photo Cover – Veronica
On Sale Date: 11/22
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Small town kids get a taste of big city life when the “core four” go to NYC for the weekend. Archie tries to keep up with Veronica’s high society pals, Betty and Jughead worry that their relationship may not survive outside the bubble of their hometown, and Kevin and Cheryl don’t intend to miss out on a day of mischief in the Big Apple…

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