By Jamie Lee Rotante, Eva Cabrera, Elaina Unger, and Rachel Deering
Readers naturally have different tastes when it comes to what they want to get out of their comic. Sometimes they’re looking for something rich in metaphor and mystery. Other people might want something more shocking, whether it be in a book’s subject matter or execution. And other times, as is the case in Betty & Veronica: Vixens, they just want to see friends kicking butt and taking names. While there is some confusion when it comes to piecing some scenes together from previous issues, the pure spirit of the title pushes past that to still be an entertaining read.
The story of Riverdale’s female entourage is still in its origin, coming to a head with a showdown against the dreaded Southside Serpents. But even though this is Vixens‘s general plot, the more important and meaningful interactions are on a smaller level. First and foremost, all of the gang’s members still feel as if they’re normal teens, trying to make an impact and find some meaning in what they do. They all come at the concept of a gang from different perspectives, with Betty taking the most responsibility for using it to handle the town’s wrongs. And at the same time, they do let their initial reactions get the better of them. This along with Jamie Lee Rotante’s dialogue makes the premise and the characters’ friendship work so well.
Some elements of pacing of the events of the book do get a little questionable. Every issue so far has had a flash forward to a time where it seems the team is on the run. This chapter decides to use these sequences for more recent events, which is a little jarring in keeping these plotlines straightforward. Other developments, such as Ethel and Midge quickly learning to ride motorcycles off-panel, seem to exist more for advancing the plot at the cost of not feeling like a natural progression for the characters.
Eva Cabrera’s art does a great job showing off the power and humor of the Vixens. It’s a little hard not to laugh at Toni Topaz rubbing her hands together in the background but when the gang is on the road, it elicits a completely different feeling. Color artist Elaina Unger brings these feelings to fruition, whether it be through the shadows of a bar or the somber nature of a conversation at twilight. Being able to accomplish this tonal shift so frequently helps contribute to the group dynamic. The issue’s opening splash page, a fantastical rendition of the gang demonstrating how they feel when they’re together, says a lot about the thoughts of the unit.
Betty & Veronica: Vixens #3 is best for those looking for a fun new look at Riverdale’s female characters. While it does have some problems with flow compared to the previous issues, it’s still an engaging chapter in a charming part of the Archie Comics line. Action seems to be just around the corner, so it might be best to pick this up before it kicks into high gear.