Current Reviews


Betty & Veronica Spectacular #89

Posted: Monday, June 22, 2009
By: Penny Kenny

Dan Parent
Dan Parent, Rich Koslowski (i), Jack Morelli (l)
Archie Comics
Your favorite grade school girl need something to keep her occupied between piano lessons and softball games? Surprise her with this “Special Summer Fun Issue” of Betty & Veronica Spectacular and you’ll be her BFF. Dan Parent, Rich Koslowski, and Jack Morelli have put together an enjoyable package that can be read during the dog days of summer and reread on a cold and gloomy winter day.

First off I have to say I really enjoy Dan Parent’s cover. The aqua-shaded wave background is beautiful without being overpowering. Its soft tones make the primary-colored lettering overlaying it pop off the page, grabbing the attention. The figures of Betty and Veronica are cute and attractive without being overly sexualized and it’s nice that Parent has put them in action. I’m showing my age here, but Betty really reminds me of Gidget from the old movie and TV series of the same name. She has that perky, beach girl look going for her.

Beneath the cover is “Surf’s Up,” a fun story that also provides a moral quandary for Miss Lodge and a lightly imparted lesson. In order to appear on a reality TV show with a hunky surfing superstar, Veronica has to make a choice: does she compromise her principles in order to get fame and the guy or does she tell the truth and do what’s right? I would have liked this story to be just a little longer, to see Veronica struggle with her decision a bit more, but that’s just my preference. The story works fine as it is. Parent gives readers a Veronica who’s vain, easily bored, boy crazy, quick to anger, and flighty, but basically good hearted. In short, typical Veronica.

Keeping with the issue’s surfing theme, “Catch the Wave” has Mr. and Mrs. Lodge disapproving of their daughter spending so much time surfing on her “Whee interactive game system.” This is an entertaining story both kids and parents can relate to as it’s an argument that’s being played out in millions of homes across America every day. There’s a neat twist to the tale and the final panel is adorable.

While serving as camp counselors, the girls manage to keep up with things at home thanks to modern technology. “Summertime Blues” is short and sweet and has a cute punchline. Its underlying message that hi-tech is actually no substitute for face-to-face contact is handled well, with humor rather than preachiness. While I kept waiting for the campers to take action and stage a protest over Betty and Veronica’s neglect, I won’t kick with how the story turned out. Plus, I really like the look of this story. Parent has placed all the panels against a tropical fruit-colored striped background. It looks great.

He does the same thing with “Summer Vacation Memories.” A series of ‘snapshots’ of the “Little Archie” gang enjoying various summertime activities is set on a palm tree and tropical flower blossom background. Interspaced with the ‘photos’ are headshots of the girls, each sporting a different hairstyle every time she appears to comment on a picture. These adorable pics--the pet race one is so cute--and the mini-hair show make what is essentially a static feature lively and entertaining. I’m sure these gorgeous pages will inspire some readers to make their own summer memory scrapbook pages.

Add in a road trip quiz and a fashion page spread and you have an appealing summertime package.

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