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PTF Reviews Betty and Veronica: Farewell Riverdale

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PTF:
One issue at a time.



 
 
Issue 272:
 
My, what a cheery cover. Betty and Veronica look so happy as they venture out into the world. I don’t normally skim pages but I just can’t help myself—OH DEAR LORD THEY DIED!?!
 
The Good:
 
 
Betty and Veronica: While a good majority of the characters are hampered by the first act (and the main stars not being in the first ten pages) fake out, Betty and Veronica are in character. Veronica is her usual arrogant self who doesn’t think before she speaks. Betty is nervous and already trepidations about leaving home. How they each say goodbye to Archie at the airport is all on point.
 
There’s some good jokes. You have a fun exchange about girls with Archie, Reggie, Jughead and Kevin Keller that I chuckled at. And if not for the art or coloring (I’ll go into detail later) there is a really funny joke with Midge and Cheryl that Midge ends up winning 2 to 1.
 
The second half: It’s not perfect, but it’s sure as heck better than the first half of the issue (I’ll get to that later). You actually do have some nice moments with Betty and Veronica with their family and friends. And actual jokes and funny moments. What Archie Comics are—er, were about. It’s nice to see two characters with so many friends and how cherished they are. Overblown…yeah. But it sure as heck beats pretending for ten pages they died!!
 
Cheryl: She’s a…um, witch. Yeah, we’ll keep this review PG. She wants to take advantage of Betty and Veronica leaving, gets into a fight with Midge over it, and immediately tries to date Archie and Reggie.
 
Betty crying: Out of all of Riverdale, you seem to be the only one capable of biologically crying in the appropriate manner, for the most part. I just want you to know I appreciate that.
 
Good art: I’m not a fan of most of the art in this issue but we do have some good pages. Like Betty’s mom or The Lodges. Unfortunately it’s kind of pointless and wasted by the stupid first half of the issue. And the very last few pages with the girls and their families and Archie are nice. Also, I know it’s not intentional, but after the first ten pages, Mr. Cooper’s expression just seems funny. “Wait? They’re not dead??”
 
The Coloring: Glenn Whitmore is at the top of his game. I think my favorite coloring is with Smithers looking to Veronica’s empty room and crying. I mean, it’s in the first ten pages I hated what they did with, but at hey—at least I know Smithers cares about Veronica…unlike her parents!
 
 Bridgette: I’m not a fan of this Mary Sue, and last I heard, she was in another country world famous. Now she’s back in Riverdale, probably a grade behind her friends, and poor. She had her dream and lost it! That’s why she looks so unhappy! Ha-Ha!
 
Ginger Lopez. Whew. I thought we’d have a Dan Parent drawn comic without her for a second.
 
 
 
The Bad:
 
What a twist—feh. Okay, so we have this fun cheery cover of the girls smiling and waving goodbye to us with nice happy coloring—and then the first half of the story has every character (save for The Lodges) acting like Betty and Veronica died!! I’m not joking, you have every character crying/sweating like the girls’ plane went down in a fiery blaze. Okay, let’s take out the cover (no, keep it. It’s one of the few good things) but it’s just stupid, unnecessary. Honestly, a lot of it feels like it’s just something to take up page space. I mean, I don’t know what you could have done…maybe, just throwing this out there—HAVE THE MAIN CHARACTERS IN THE FIRST TEN PAGES OF THEIR BOOK!!! …Okay, me Michael Uslan are not going to get along very well with one another. I can tell that right now.
 
Um, why are they leaving? Yeah, they never really say why they’re leaving. That seems important.
 
The art. I’m going to be honest. I’m not a fan of Dan Parent’s art. I just don’t like it. I can take it in small doses. But when you had Ruiz, Lindsey, The Kennedys…he’s second worst, just ahead of Pat in my pecking order And his art works best in limited pages and limited characters. Just check out ever female character not Bridgette, remember those old comics where you could cut out the hair and clothing and tape over them? That’s what you can do with Dan Parent’s girls. And besides that a lot of pages seem rushed and sloppy. Like the Little versions of the Archie crew and the first page where we see Mr. Weatherbee and Ms. Grundy After the fight, Midge looked like she did have a black eye, but Cheryl…she looks like she hadn’t slept for two days, and it hurts a funny joke. And during the double spread…I’m trying to figure out the proportions of Archie and the stage to everyone else.  And looking back…Raj looks like he’s about to fall over. Also, there are a lot of misshapen (but polite sign holding) mutants. No wonder the girls want to leave! Horror was coming to Riverdale sooner than we all thought!
 
Jughead’s mom: This deserves its own little spot because—I HATE WHEN JUGHEAD AND HIS MOM ARE DRAWN TO LOOK ALIKE!!!
 
Tears? Okay this annoyed the heck out of me throughout the story. You have all these characters crying and, save for Betty, they look like someone turned up the heat. The way they’re drawn it looks like the tears start right at the upper cheek. It’s really weird and it happens so much it’s annoying. I get that the idea is the tears rolling down their face…but it doesn’t look that way! It looks like sweat!
 
Okay, now I know you’re wasting my time: There’s a small section of a page where Mr. Weatherbee critiques Miss Grundy for watching the Walking Dead and she goes on a mini-rant about classical monsters…WHY WOULD YOU GO THERE? Even crudely drawn Archie, Jughead, and Ginger Lopez is wondering why we’re wasting time with this.
 

 
And for the record, Mr. Weatherbee is right about The Walking Dead being horrible.
 
Character walking into the panel. How dare you. Deadpool is the only character that is allowed to break the 4th wall!!
 
Miss Grundy slamming the door behind her: It’s just rude.
 
What I learned from what I read.
 
 Betty won’t be missed. She already has a little clone running around.

* Smithers loves Veronica more than her parents.
* Don’t insult classical literature involving monsters in front of Miss. Grundy.
* People in Riverdale cry really weird.
* Midge >>>>Cheryl. SHIROUKEN!!
* Mr. Weatherbee doesn’t like The Walking Dead.
* Every time Betty and Veronica are out of eyeshot, everyone in Riverdale reaches new lows in depression.
* Mrs. Cooper gets real emotional folding laundry.
* A Power point presentation? Riverdale is full of cavepeople.
* Wait…Veronica left for the plane first, then Betty left after saying goodbye to Archie—and Veronica is behind Archie right after Betty leaves? Veronica’s a nightcrawler!! 
 
I’m not going to lie, this was a rough one. I hated the first ten pages of trying a stupid stunt no one with a brain or working eyes would fall for and this issue felt like so much filler and buying time. The art is pretty bad. A lot of characters look so sloppy. But there is the occasional good dialogue and jokes and a few pages where I do give Dan Parent credit on the art. I’m going to be super super SUPER nice and go D+
 
And not onto the next issue where the girls haven’t left Riverdale…wait, what? Am I reviewing these in the right order?!
 

DeCarlo Rules:
It's interesting that we can agree so closely on something like "Target: Jughead" yet be poles apart in most other respects.

PTF:
That's just how it is. Everyone has different tastes, expectations, and views. Heck, I think I'm the only one one liked both Cars movies and glad there's a third one coming out. I even have a friend who is a big Rob Liefield fan who absolutely hates everything Mark Bagely has done. I don't get it, but I just accept it as different strokes for different folks. :)

All I can do is give my thoughts, examples and maybe make a few jokes for laughs. And if you agree or not, it's still your choice what you purchase.




DeCarlo Rules:
I think the thing that struck me most forcefully was that rant about hating Dan Parent's art, but as you said, opinions differ. Judging by how the company has spotlighted Dan's work (on covers and major important stories) in the last couple of decades even over the other artists you mention (only four? - or five, counting the Kennedys as two), you seem to be the odd man out on this opinion.

Personally, Dan Parent was my gateway drug to modern Archie Comics. Prior to that I read THE MARRIED LIFE, but since I began at the ending with "The Death of Archie", that door had actually closed before I opened it, so it had no further influence other than to lead me to check out the other major (then-)recent multipart story arcs, most of which happened to be (not coincidentally) by Dan Parent. Had I not enjoyed those DP stories so much I doubt I would have explored any further with Archie Comics, and would have limited my interest solely to the classic Silver/Bronze age Dan DeCarlo stories, and the ACP superhero stories (including Frank Doyle & Bob White's Silver Age Pureheart & friends), which is as much as interested me prior to reading TML. The science fiction/multiverse angle was the only thing that stimulated my interest in reading THE MARRIED LIFE, and when I first read it I still had no idea who Jellybean was, or that she'd been a character in Archie Comics for 20 years. In retrospect I think there are a lot of story problems with THE MARRIED LIFE as well.

That said, I'd agree that "Farewell Betty & Veronica" as a whole has some story problems. A lot of the ones in the first two (or three, I'm not sure) issues seem to have something to do with the story having been re-purposed for use as a floppy comic from its original magazine format version as a 48- or 50-page story intended for VERONICA & BETTY MAGAZINE #1, and I wonder if that isn't the reason that the first and second parts of the story appear to be in reverse order, where that might have worked and made some sense in a single magazine issue. But of course, I can't tell which of the pages was created years earlier before the magazine was cancelled, and which were created just prior to it appearing in floppy comic format. At any rate, it seems likely to me that parts of the original story were either reordered, expanded or edited from its original format. The story as originally written for V&B #1 would have been intended to run much longer, much like LIFE WITH ARCHIE, so trying to compact the whole arc and wrap up the story in a seven floppy comics (about 3 and a half magazine-size comics) was bound to cause some problems. The other thing that occurs to me knowing what it was before it became a multi-part storyline in the (formerly-)ongoing B&V floppy comic is that it was intended for much the same audience as LWA, and is a bit of an alternate tangent universe (since if the magazine had actually seen print, the ongoing floppy would not have maintained any continuity with it). Apart from that there are some odd character bits that stick out, like the stuff with Midge. The exaggerated emotional response of the entire school to B&V going away as exchange students seems unrealistic and overdramatic (like you point out, it's not as if they died in a plane crash), but Archie Comics have never been heavy on realism, so in this case it's as if the entire school is channeling what Archie is feeling, and the readers are obviously supposed to identify as well. It didn't bug me as much as it did you, but there are a lot of unrealistic things in Archie Comics that I just give a pass just because these are cartoon characters. I suppose I would have given it a C or C+, overall, but I can see where it's a lot harder to excuse any flaws when you hate the artwork to start with.

PTF:
Oh trust me, Dan Parent is one of the last people I blame for this storyline after I finished it. And it's not like every issue gets a bad grade. And if it makes you feel better, I'm reading and reviewing the issues of Kevin Keller I got and I really like the art in it so far.


And I have a much bigger problem with this issue after I read issue 273 that I'll go into detail then.

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