“Where the Action Is”
When Archie disappears, teen spies Betty and Veronica are on the case. But who’s responsible? Archie’s main rival Reggie? Or Betty and Veronica’s nemesis Cheryl Blossom? Or could a new player have entered the Archie sweepstakes?
Take a bit of James Bond, Drew Barrymore’s Charlie’s Angels, Modesty Blaise, the '60s Batman and Steranko’s Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Mix together. The result is “Where the Action Is,” a fun “imaginary story” that lets the girls be action heroines and allows Dan Parent to release his inner gadget geek. Though romping about “battling crime and fighting for truth, justice, and the Riverdale way,” the girls remain true to their established characters. Betty is concerned about fitting her school work around her spy duties, while Veronica wants to be the most stylish crime fighter ever. Brainy Dilton also gets a nice role as their “Q” providing the girls with hypnotic contact lenses, flying cars, and paralyzing perfume.
What can you say about Parent’s art? I mean really, just look at the cover to this issue. It says it all. He excels at drawing pretty girls and here he gets to draw pretty girls in Black Widow-Baroness type bodysuits. It’s a match made in heaven. But Parent doesn’t just focus on the pretty faces. He really puts the girls through their paces. They run, leap, hang upside down, pull suspects through windows and drop through skylights themselves. There’s a smooth flow between panels and the action is easy to follow.
Though “Where the Action Is” actually ends on a “To Be Continued” note, something unusual for B&V Spectacular, there is more to the issue. “Undercover Fashion” is a beautiful two page spread showing the girls in a variety of outfits. While readers won’t be able to recreate the majority of them, they will enjoy the mix of retro and contemporary looks.
“The Gang’s Secrets Exposed!” reveals some intriguing tidbits, especially about our favorite heiress Veronica. The page design here is elegant and simple, while keeping with the spy theme. A headshot of each character is paperclipped to a dossier bearing their name. “Photos” of the characters in “compromising” positions are then scattered over a background of stripes and keyholes.
The “Action Movie Quiz” features the best looking Betty of the issue. In her impossibly high heeled boots, she shows her stuff with a high kick. With her ponytail flying and sleeveless black jumpsuit, she resembles the aforementioned Ms. Barrymore in action. The quiz itself has interesting mix of questions referencing older and more current movies.
“Top Secret Gadgets for the Gang!” is a fun piece of fluff that has the gang – including Mrs. Andrews and Ms. Grundy – choosing a futuristic gadget and explaining how it would make their life easier. While these gadgets are amusing and reveal the individual’s character, Dilton’s choice also allows Parent to throw in a bit of advice to readers without seeming too heavy-handed about it.
Betty & Veronica Spectacular #87 is a highly energetic and entertaining issue that fans and even non-fans will enjoy.
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