The Riverdale gang aren’t just musicians, athletes, designers, scientists, time travellers, adventurers, and Predator and zombie battlers, they’re also superheroes! Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Reggie, and Moose are the Super Teens.
Betty Cooper, the sometime co-leader of the team, is Superteen, transforming into her alter-ego by twisting her magic ponytail. Her powers include the classic three—flight, strength, and resilience—and are identical to team leader Archie’s, but for one important difference: his are limited. While Archie, who takes on the nom de super of Pureheart, has the same powers as Betty, his can be depleted or influenced by outside sources. And, importantly, they depend on his keeping up his Ph factor: a pure heart.
Unlike Archie, Superteen Betty Cooper is a power unto herself. Not only does she keep herself powered and peppy, she has also been known to give Archie a power up. Where Archie falters, she keeps steady, and when the rest of the team stumbles into trouble, Betty is there with a plan. Superteen is, obviously, the real hero of the Super Teen super team.
But even in her more ordinary incarnations, Betty Cooper is the real hero of Riverdale. Step aside, Archie! We’ve got it all worked out, Betty-like. Here are five reasons why Betty Cooper is the Real Hero of Riverdale:
5. Absurdly Impressive, Resourceful Student
Dilton might be a supergenius, but Betty maintains a straight-A average and is the apple of the Riverdale teachers’ eye, despite her questionable choice of companions. Especially excellent in English and literature and with dreams of becoming a writer, her papers and short stories have occasionally been published in national magazines. She’s an avid reader who embraces research and organization in order to stay at the top of her game, both in the classroom and on the playing field. If Betty can’t find the answer to a problem, she hits the books and finds it out, discipling her natural curiosity into a thirst for knowledge.
Her economic situation is some motivation for Betty’s good work at school: unlike Veronica, Betty knows she’ll need a scholarship in order to attend the college of her dreams and live up to her potential. But Betty doesn’t shine only in the classroom: a natural athlete, she has played baseball (scrimmaging the boys’ team and losing by a slim margin) and basketball for Riverdale High, and cheers in the fall for the football team.
On her own time, we have seen Betty:
- race a dogsled
- climb mountains
- run unofficial marathons in order to help with the soup kitchen in the next town over, probably
… to name a few. Unsurprisingly, while Betty shines in competition, she plays fair and exhibits exemplary sportsmanship. Cheryl and Ron might take shortcuts and try to win by machination and cheating, but Betty abides by the rules and usually manages to come out on top through sheer determination, natural talent, and her hard-earned skill.
4. Wide Variety of Apocalypse-Ready Skills
These traits would be handy enough in case of world-ending apocalypse, but Betty’s taken it a step (or five … or six … or twenty) further: not content to sit idly by while someone else does the dirty work, she’s continually collecting a variety of useful skills, largely self-taught and perfected through years of practice. Driving an old car away from a horde of zombies, only for it to break down? Betty can fix it. Need a five-course dinner whipped up in a single afternoon? Betty’s your girl! (And it’ll be the best thing you’ve ever eaten, even if you routinely employ a French chef, Veronica.) Have to learn how to waltz for a wedding? Betty’s got you covered. Need CPR, or a sprained ankle wrapped? Betty will keep you alive and she’ll have you laughing and relaxed while she does.
She might be the girl-next-door, but Betty can run a house or a student council, fix the plumbing, rescue you with basic first aid, and get that grumpy old jalopy purring like a kitten. In an apocalypse, Betty is your secret weapon. She’s canny as well as book-smart, and her good common sense has saved the gang from more than one disaster … or gotten them out of one (usually of Archie’s making). In a book full of magical realism—Christmas elves, time travel, surprise dates with Hollywood hearthrobs, and summers that never end—Betty is sometimes the only person who can keep a level head on her shoulders. Who knew good sense could be such an attractive feature?
3. Betty Is a Planner Who Also Puts Plans Into Action
You know that one friend you have, who never forgets birthdays (even without Facebook) and always lets you borrow her notes from class (which are color-coded, full of citations, and neater than the actual text of the book)? The one who still has a box full of recipes and hangs a to-do list by her mirror that she checks off every night?
Wait, no, that’s Betty.
Betty leaves nothing to chance, and while she believes in fate, she also believes in giving fate all the help it can get. Give her an assignment and she’ll break it down into tasks with tasks, each with its own due date and timeline. Ask her to do you a favor, and that favor becomes her newest priority.
Archie is a cloud of confused chaos. Jughead is pure apathy. Planning? Veronica has people who do that for her, darling (A Lodge would never so much as crease the spine of her leather, gilt-edged day planner! Writing down tasks—how gauche.). But Betty knows the secret to success is organization and execution. If no structure is imposed on her, she designs it for herself. While the rest of the world panics, Betty is already set to calmly control the situation and prioritize any actions that need to be taken. While her friends might ask what do we do? Betty will have the answer, a plan of action, and the steel-spined willpower to see it through. Who run the world? Betty does. Betty gets it done.
Of course, Archie occasionally ruins even her best-laid plans, but what’s a girl gonna do? Not hop in the car for a spontaneous picnic at the beach with her guy? Occasionally, even sensibility must give in to romance.
2. Betty Is a Good Person and Leaves No One Behind
Being a good person doesn’t sound heroic? Oh ho, but her best friend is Veronica. Yes, Betty is superhumanly friendly, maintaining strong friendships with manipulative Veronica, prickly Jughead, scheming Cheryl Blossom, and 73% of the inhabitants of the known universe (Betty is already your friend, you just haven’t met her yet). Her friendship network includes most of the population of Riverdale High, including some of her teachers, the children she babysits alongside Jughead, the seniors she visits with in Riverdale Retirement, her neighbors, and more. You get it. She’s got connections. Deep connections, high and low. Betty has just the kind of network needed to help Veronica pull off a last minute school dance, get Reggie out of his latest bind, or even save the town from a zombie infestation! I’m looking at you, Afterlife with Archie.
But more than just being able to strike up friendships with unlikely characters, Betty is loyal to a fault. Even in a crisis. Zombies are chasing your band of worn—but still plucky, because after all you’ve got Betty on board—survivors, and you just tripped! Oh no! Oh wait! Here’s Betty, coming back for you, flipping you onto her shoulder in a perfect fireman’s carry. While Archie is a good person with a large and diverse friend group, he’s too often distracted by romantic pursuits (and time travel and zombies and the Punisher). Sure you can count on him to come through for you in the end, but you can count on Betty to come through at the start and in the middle, too. Betty Cooper: for a rescue that’s timely and thorough and probably successful, if Archie doesn’t get in the way.
1. Betty Is the Friend You Wish You Had
Archie is a nice guy. Veronica has unlimited resources. Jughead has great burgers. But Betty is the friend you wish you had. Betty is a rock, the calm in the center of the storm that is her friends. She’s the person you know is Going Places, but who’ll either bring you along, or make sure to keep in touch—and not just with likes or tweets, but with handwritten letters and long-phone calls that feel like you’re hanging out back at Pops’ all over again. She is brilliant without pretension, kind-hearted to a fault, and will never stop cheering you on. If you need a hand to help you up, Betty will be there to give it to you.
Like any friend, Betty might quarrel or have a misunderstanding with the people she cares about, but half the time she’s there in less than a day, at the door with an apology cake and the determination to make things right. Ultimately, her friends are precious to her, and with a friendship circle extending far enough—and is flexible enough—to include Reggie Mantle, that includes just about everyone she’s ever met, or might one day meet.
Betty is the friend we all deserve. Unfortunately for us, she’s a fictional character. Riverdale, you don’t know what you have! A super teen even when she’s not Superteen, Betty Cooper is the real hero of Riverdale.