“I can just imagine the chaos of her crazy bunch collided with my proper, sedate group!” — Hiram Lodge, “Party Smarties,” Betty and Veronica #254
Oh no! You can’t imagine what will happen, Mr. Lodge, when you and Veronica both schedule a pool party for the same day. Craig Boldman’s “Party Smarties” is a fun, fresh story that’s perfect for taking readers away from summer’s heat and humidity. The running gag is that both Mr. Lodge and Veronica feel that they’re communicating perfectly with one another, that they’ve made sure they won’t double book the pool for the same day. Boldman milks this by showing each of them getting ready for their own party, then “confirming” with the other that the date is free. This is done in a very natural manner. It doesn’t feel like the dialog is being twisted to prevent the reveal. Then, when the day of the party arrives, events take a turn and the story continues. It’s very well done and provides some clever moments.
The rest of the issue is devoted to “The Disinterested Parties!” After Dilton explains that Veronica only wants Archie because she’s competitive, Betty pretends to give the red-head up. She then learns the truth of the saying “O, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”
I’m of two minds about this story. On the one hand, it’s cute and funny. Boldman again does a fantastic job of milking the joke, and piling complication upon complication until one final burst of hilarious action. He also gives Betty a line that’s similar to something Buttercup thinks in one of my favorite books, The Princess Bride.
Buttercup: You got these little quick passions, you blinked, and they were gone. You forgave faults, found perfection, fell madly; then the next day the sun came up and it was over.
Betty: “It’s what we do! We have crushes, we get past them, we move on!”
On the other hand, dialog like this:
Archie: I almost think I’d be better off with you, Betty.
Betty: I almost like the way you think.
Archie: Well, great! I like to spend my time with someone who appreciates me!
makes me want to shake both of them. A little less condescension, Archie, and a little less doormatiness, please, Betty. Still, that’s very much the teen dynamic, so it rings true to life.
The art by Jeff Shultz and inker Jim Amash is beautiful. It’s clean and perky. There’s a panel featuring a close-up of Veronica that is just beautiful. Betty doesn’t get neglected either, as there’s a panel showing her thinking that’s gorgeous. You can practically see the wheels turning in her head.
There’s something about the way Shultz draws Betty in “Disinterested” that reminds me of Donna Douglas of The Beverly Hillbillies fame.
The colors by Barry Grossman and Digikore Studios are bright without being overpowering and Jack Morelli does his usual superb lettering job.
If you’re looking for a way to beat the heat, Betty and Veronica #254 is the way to go.