Betty & Veronica #4: A Prom-ising Disaster

Betty and Veronica #4 Cover B, drawn by Derek Charm. Written by Jamie Lee Rotante and drawn by Sandra Lanz. Published by Archie Comics. 13 March, 2019.

Betty & Veronica #4

Kelly Fitzpatrick (colours), Sandra Lanz (artist), Jack Morelli (letters), Jamie Lee Rotante (writer)
Archie Comics
April 3, 2019

Veronica Lodge’s star is shining brighter than Riverdale High’s neon prom sign. Not only has she scored her own advice column at Sparkle magazine, but now she’s running her recuperating father’s empire with astoundingly positive results. Plus, she’s got into the prestigious Hitchens University, all without the help of her powerful family. Can this girl put a foot wrong?

Betty and Veronica #4 Cover A, drawn by Sandra Lanz. Written by Jamie Lee Rotante and drawn by Sandra Lanz. Published by Archie Comics. 13 March, 2019. - Betty and Veronica sit beside each other, Betty in a pale pink dress and Veronica in a deep red gown, with the caption "Prom Queens!"

Yes, she can. On Prom Night, no less. To make Reggie Mantle feel better, Veronica asks him to Prom, only to have a very angry Betty chase after her for stealing her ex. And Betty is no better off when it comes to faux pas. She invited Moose to Prom so he could see Midge. That went down as badly as everyone expected. Can anything be salvaged from this mess of a Prom Night?

The ups and downs of Betty and Veronica’s friendship has been a diverting read in this mini-series, but I am glad that most of their issues with each other have to do with their ambitions, and less to do with their love interests. In Betty & Veronica #4, it is their choice of university that becomes a point of contention, which I liked.

High school friends often dream of continuing their friendships through university, but as Betty and Veronica learn here, that isn’t always possible. Way back in the summer, they had promised each other that they would attend Pickens U together, but a lot has changed since then. Betty’s father lost his job, and Veronica’s father suffered a heart attack. If only they could be frank with each other about their reservations.

Betty & Veronica has essentially been a comic book fable about the importance of communication. Despite Betty’s hard work, and Veronica’s ability to excel at everything, the two are completely unable to tell each other what’s playing on their minds, until it forms a massive wedge between them. I feel like this miscommunication trope is overdone in this series—just two issues ago, Betty and Veronica promised to be more open with each other, but they still haven’t managed to do that. Have they finally resolved their inability to communicate? We only have one issue to find out.

Betty & Veronica #3 gave readers a glimpse of the characters around the titular duo, and in this issue, we get to see just how intertwined Betty and Veronica are in the lives and loves of Riverdale High. Unfortunately, the pair manage to make a complete hash of their relationships with their other friends, and it is going to be interesting to see how they come back from this in their final issue. One does not simply walk away from ruining Prom Night.

Betty & Veronica has dealt with some real-life issues that affect young adults and there was one particularly disturbing moment in Betty & Veronica #4 that I hope will be addressed. When Betty is tutoring Moose, he tells her how much he misses Riverdale High and Midge, his ex-girlfriend, which is what prompts Betty’s ill-advised decision to take Moose as her date. However, at the prom, Midge is shocked that Moose is there, accusing him of stalking her and loudly stating that their relationship is over.

I’m curious why Betty, who is in the thick of things at Riverdale High, and has been friends with Midge, would not know how Midge feels about Moose. Every Archie fan knows that Moose is a football star who isn’t great at studying, but there seems to be more to his story with Midge, from what we see in Betty & Veronica #4. I do hope that Midge’s concerns about Moose’s intentions aren’t glossed over in the next issue.

I was hoping that Betty & Veronica would give more commentary on the financial divide between the two friends, as it did a few issues ago when Betty’s 24/7 work and study life was contrasted with the ease with which Veronica was moving up in the world. This issue alludes to that but doesn’t engage with it as thoroughly as I had hoped.

Despite my initial reservations about Betty & Veronica, I have enjoyed this series and been surprised by some of the subjects it has tackled. This is not the Archie universe I grew up with and I am grateful for that. Betty & Veronica has not held back on the topics that matter to its readers while creating an entertaining story that keeps readers waiting for more. I’m excited to see what Betty and Veronica have planned for Graduation Day.

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books, or video games. E always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media. Louis' podcast, Stereo Geeks, is available on all major platforms. Pronouns: E/ Er/ Eir