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Betty & Veronica #241

Posted: Monday, May 18, 2009
By: Penny Kenny

Various
Jeff Shultz, Rich Koslowski (i), Barry Grossman (c), Jack Morelli (l)
Archie Comics
When Veronica’s invited to an old classmate’s wedding, the heiress decides it’s really all about her. Can Betty change her mind before the bride’s big day is spoiled?

Kathleen Webb’s “What’s It all About?” is an amusing short that showcases Veronica’s vanity and general obliviousness. The story’s humor comes from the clash between Betty’s increasing frustration and Veronica’s obstinate cluelessness. Webb sets up Veronica’s personality with a lovely bit of opening dialog: “A letter in the mail? How quaint! What an old fashioned way of communication!” With a minimum of words, she establishes Veronica’s sense of superiority and, by inference, entitlement. It’s a well-done interpretation of the “classic” Veronica.

Jeff Shultz’s art is attractive, working in perfect tandem with Webb’s words. The girls’ poses and expressions tell the reader exactly how their lines should be read.

Shultz’s angry Betty is particularly good looking as she yells at Veronica. Her ruffled hair and scrunched up face radiate anger. While not being realistically drawn, she still looks real. Also, readers with an eye for fashion will especially enjoy the two page clothes parade the artist provides.

George Gladir’s “Video Game Gambit,” in which the girls design girl-friendly video games, is cute, but slight. His “Shoe Coup” is much more entertaining, with its wacky concept of a fashion contest that focuses on footwear and dialog like, “I could wear them to a retro party! Or donate them to a museum!” and “They’re just vintage souvenirs from a distant past!” The Veronica here is less self-absorbed and even makes gentle fun of her social status. It’s a valid and enjoyable interpretation of her character, but it means the story depends on plot dictated rather than character motivated conflict. Oddly enough, Shultz’s drawings seem less in sync with Gladir’s dialogue than they did with Webb’s. There’s less expression and body language here, though the art is every bit as attractive.

In Craig Boldman’s “The Smell Test,” Veronica is back in rich witch mode as she uses Archie’s thoughtful gesture to make Betty miserable. But as she learns, these things have a way of coming back to bite you. This is a fun little story that features classic characterizations: well-meaning, doofus Archie; nasty Veronica; sweet Betty; and a Jughead trying to save Archie from himself. Though this is a variation on a many times told tale, the ending guarantees giggles from the younger set.

Though not an outstanding issue Betty & Veronica #241 is still a light and enjoyable read.



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