Betty & Veronica #3
Kelly Fitzpatrick (Colours), Sandra Lanz (Artist), Jack Morelli (Letters), Jamie Lee Rotante (Writer)
27 February, 2019
Betty and Veronica ended summer break by proclaiming themselves best friends. Now it’s the start of winter break and neither has seen the other in ages. It all comes down to a silly misunderstanding between them at Riverdale High’s Halloween party that’s almost completely ended their friendship. Yet when things get really bad for Veronica, only one person races to the rescue—Betty. Maybe this friendship isn’t over after all?
I enjoyed Betty & Veronica #2 up until the end where Betty thought she saw Veronica with her ex, Reggie. A boy driving a wedge between two girls is a trope I hoped this series would avoid, but this is Archie Comics, so that was too much to hope for.
However, Betty & Veronica #3 handles the cliff-hanger surprisingly well. Not only do both girls reject Reggie, but this story sees them focusing on work and the laborious college application process. In an interesting turn of events, it is Veronica who goes out of her way to make amends with Betty. In the Archie Comics of old, Veronica rarely ever admitted fault, and I am glad to see this updated version of her character, who is more accountable for her actions.
Betty & Veronica deals with real-world problems facing students. The previous issue saw Betty’s father lose his job, and the consequences of that event have repercussions throughout Betty & Veronica #3. In this issue, Hiram Lodge takes ill, and it is conceivable that Veronica will find herself having to step up in her father’s absence. There is also the hint that another major Archie character has been dealing with an unwell relative. Loved ones falling ill is a fear that most students have, and it is good to see a series like Betty & Veronica tackle such issues.
I am curious how the central conflict of Betty & Veronica #3 is going to pan out, though. At the start of the series, Betty and Veronica had assured each other that they would attend Pickens U together, but it seems Betty is planning to renege on the promise. The friendship between Betty and Veronica has been tumultuous, but they have found ways back to each other. Will this be the straw that breaks the camel’s back? The series certainly seems to be headed that way, though I am holding out hope for a positive outcome.
Betty & Veronica #3 spends a few panels on more of the wider cast of characters from the Archie-verse, and it adds layers to Betty and Veronica’s story. We already know that Betty has been working hard tutoring fellow students and building homes, while Veronica has earned her own advice column in the school magazine. But they aren’t the only ones out there making a difference—fellow classmate Toni has set up a STEM initiative for younger students, and Jughead is a reporter on human interest stories. These details add to the richness of the Archie universe and give Betty and Veronica’s struggles more context. I do wish that some of this had been brought in earlier in the series, but I am glad for their inclusion, late though it may be.
I’m enjoying Sandra Lanz’s art in Betty & Veronica, and particularly like some of the techniques she uses here to convey the passage of time. There are several panels here that have no text, and Lanz’s art comes to the fore, moving the story along effectively. From the series thus far, this has been the strongest issue with regards to the art.
Despite this issue being set during winter, colourist Kelly Fitzpatrick uses a flamboyant colour palette, and I have to say I like it. The default when creating anything winter-related is to desaturate the tone of the page, and to add blue and green hues, but Fitzpatrick subverts those expectations to create rich scenes. Even if it is snowing outside, that doesn’t mean the colour of the world has been sucked out!
It seems to be a recurring theme in Betty & Veronica that the issues end with the titular characters being given a reason to fall out with each other. It’s an amusing refrain, but I do hope that they will learn something from these arguments so as to build a stronger relationship. It’s good to see a series dedicated to the friendship between two young women, with all the ups and downs that entails. It will be interesting to see whether these two head-strong individuals can finally put their differences aside and find some common ground.