Archie Comics have been absolutely killing it with this relaunch. From flagship title series Archie to the superb Jughead, it seemed like the publisher was grabbing the right talent and letting them update their books to perfection. Now, we have Betty & Veronica #1, written and drawn by the legendary Adam Hughes, and it’s another stellar debut from a publisher who is doing everything right. While this may not be the best of the new Archie books, it is without a doubt the best looking. You couldn’t ask for a better looking comic book, seriously. I don’t want to call you a fool, but you are a damn fool if you are not reading these comic books.
Betty & Veronica #1 is a dense comic book. Hughes sets this issue up as an introduction to the world of Archie, so if you are not reading the other series you are still good to go here (but you’re a fool, as we covered earlier). This works for and against Hughes, as it means he has a lot of ground to cover with these characters. He uses an off-panel narrator to introduce you to everyone and give you some background, although his choice of narrator is a little odd, to say the least. That said, once we have the cast and the story setup, this issue really sings. Betty seems to be the clear hero, thus far at least, and she dominates every scene she’s in. The best bits of the comic belong to her, no doubt about it. Hopefully Veronica gets that same consideration upcoming issues, because right now it’s hard to imagine anybody being on Team Veronica.
Visually, this comic has no peer on the shelf. Hughes is in top form here, delivering gorgeous page after gorgeous page. He has a soft line throughout the book, there are no hard edges to be found in his Riverdale. His characters are expressive and in control of every panel. there are times when the art is so good and says so much you wish he’d have stepped back a bit on the dialogue and just let the page breathe a bit more. Still, you can’t deny that his work is simply beautiful. There’s not a line out of place here, not a single wasted inch.
Adding to the book’s beauty is the color work of Jose Villarrubia. He also uses a soft palette, matching Hughes line work wonderfully. If you are looking for an example of colors and art that are perfectly in sync, look no further than Betty and Veronica #1. Villarrubia colors finish lines at times, defining Betty’s hair or the emotion on Pop’s face. The wrong colors could have easily killed the look and feel of this book, but Villarrubia is on-point. He brings so much Betty and Veronica #1, it’s hard to imagine what it would’ve looked like without him.
Like Archie and Jughead, Betty and Veronica is a winner. It’s fun, funny, and engaging. There’s no crime, or superheroes, or sinister villains (unless you count Veronica). It’s just damn good and you really, really should be reading these comics. They make for a nice change of pace and some the industry’s top talent are delivering big time month after month. Adam Hughes is a guy that demands your attention, and his take on Betty and Veronica is something you should be adding to your pull list.
Images: Archie Comics