In this latest installment of Betty and Veronica Friends Forever, the duo is up to more hijinks. But with pranksters, dashing Englishmen, and flame-haired bike enthusiasts in the mix, how will Betty and Veronica stay in the limelight?
Betty & Veronica Friends Forever: It’s All Relative #1
Jim Amash (Artist), Bill Golliher (Writer), Jack Morelli (Letters), Dan Parent (Artist), Glenn Whitmore (Colours)
March 11, 2020
We know the usual denizens of Riverdale—Betty and Veronica, Archie and Jughead—but what about their families? In It’s All Relative, we get to meet Veronica’s prankster cousin Leroy, who teams up with ‘MyTube’ sensation Jokester Jess to make Betty and Veronica’s lives miserable. Then there’s Betty’s cousin Jessie, who paints the town red but insists on hiding the fact that she’s related to Betty. And we go beyond the core characters, with Smithers’ dreamy young nephew, and Principal Weatherbee’s attractive biker niece—both of whom get a bit too much attention from the Riverdale group.
But what is the purpose of Betty & Veronica Friends Forever: It’s All Relative #1? I can’t say I have an understanding of that at the end of this book. Betty and Veronica come across as quite self-centred at times—they are both so enamoured of Smithers’ nephew that they keep dragging him to events and parties until he’s exhausted enough to make a quick getaway. Why doesn’t he feel comfortable enough to tell them he is tired and doesn’t want to party? That’s never explained. I can understand not being able to get away from controlling Veronica, but isn’t Betty the kindly one in the group? How is she so oblivious to the boy’s weariness? Or is it that she’s so boy-crazy that she doesn’t care how he is reacting to her attention? That doesn’t sound like a great character or story.
When Wendy Weatherbee breezes into town, instead of being friendly, Betty and Veronica get jealous that Archie wants to spend time with her. Even though Wendy turns out to have a boyfriend, Veronica lies to Wendy to send her away from town, just in case Archie continues to be interested in her. Because women will manipulate anyone in their vicinity if a man is involved, right?
At least with regards to Veronica’s cousin, Leroy, our protagonists don’t come out too poorly. Leroy is an awful little brat—unsurprising, given the way Veronica turned out—but he learns nothing from having pranks played on him by Jokester Jess. So, what’s the point? Not every story has to have a powerful message but it’s annoying to see privileged characters not get their comeuppance.
I was honestly confused by the Jessie Cooper story. What is the big deal about her not telling anyone she’s Betty’s cousin? I thought she would try and sow discord or turn Betty’s friends against her, but nothing happens. She meets up with Betty’s friends, dances, then is yelled at by Betty and Veronica for not proclaiming her Cooper-ness. Why would that matter to anyone? It’s a badly-designed story, creating conflict for conflict’s sake.
I love the anthology aspect of the Betty & Veronica Friends Forever series but between the last one I read and this book, I’m feeling underwhelmed. This book looks rushed; there’s a lack of thought and follow-through that makes the reading experience uncomfortable, instead of fun.
What’s worse is that Betty and Veronica are not getting the kind of characterisation I’m looking for. The Betty & Veronica Friends Forever series sounds like it’s about female friendship, but more often than not, they are pitted against each other over some boy and act petty without reason. These stories may have worked a few decades ago but even as light reading, they don’t stand up to the mildest scrutiny today and are frustrating reads.