Betty and Veronica have come a long way in their 80 year history. From being each other’s biggest rivals, to now being each other’s BFFs, we have a whole new series of stories in this first original graphic novel. This series features a new artistic style, as well as brand new stories that haven’t appeared in any other Archie Comics.
Riverdale High School has a career fair that has all the students buzzing. Betty and Veronica initially have quite different strategies for tackling the day, but quickly find themselves so awe struck by all the amazing role models that they decide to take in the presentations together. Veronica, the affluent and well networked one had very low expectations for what the first speaker, a female senator, had to say. However, once she hears the incredible struggle she went through to get where she is today, she becomes excited to learn as much as she can. There are great lessons of challenging your expectations, not making assumptions, and taking risks to try out new ideas. The story takes fantastic turns as the girls are shown as actual politicians, singers, models, superheroes, and astronauts. It’s a positive story that emphasizes to young females especially, that they can do anything they set their mind to.
Illustrator Brittney Williams does an amazing job of reinventing the world of Riverdale. In this series, we find the town is full of a diverse population representing all different backgrounds. Betty and Veronica have big, dramatic eyes that are often used to emphasize emotions. There is a wide variety of panels to keep things aesthetically interesting, and functionally, to set the tone for that segment. Action scenes with words popping out of the page, sepia-toned memories from the past, and brightly colored story panels will keep readers engaged. Betty and Veronica do show off their bodies a bit. There are some short skirts, and cleavage included, as you would find to be typical of their outfit choices in other Archie Comics. There isn’t anything overtly sexual, the language is clean, and the fighting scenes when the girls are super heroes aren’t excessively violent.
This is an Archie comic, however it is quite a different style of writing and drawing from what you may be used to if you’ve read them in the past. There are a lot of modernizations added to this new version of the Riverdale gang, for example, cell phones, social media usage such as YouTube make-up tutorials, and The Hills (MTV television series that ran from 2006-2010) are thrown in. The illustrator does a wonderful job of including diverse characters that show different religious beliefs, races, and backgrounds. And, of course, the characters don’t just stick around Riverdale anymore, they get to explore outer space and all kinds of different roles that they wouldn’t have done before.
The only criticism I have is that the humor really fell flat or just wasn’t there. Archie Comics are known for being funny and this one just really wasn’t. This book does feature a lot of positive female characters who are in leadership positions, and in careers that are typically male dominated. Overall, if you are looking to add a comic book that showcases diversity and strong women, this would be a good series to start adding to your YA collection.
Betty and Veronica: The Bond of Friendship, Vol. 1
By Jamie Lee Rotante
Art by Brittney Williams
Archie Blue Ribbon, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: 12 – 17
Series ISBNS and Order
Title Details and Representation
NFNT Age Recommendation: Older Teen (16-18), Teen (13-16)
Related to…: Classic to Comic