Sunday, January 11, 2015

Guest Review - Betty and Veronica #274 and Archie #663

    Stepping into the Guest Review chair today is my good friend James Cassara, with a look at two comics featuring Archie Andrews and the lovely Betty and Veronica:

   Let me preface my comments by saying that these days I buy very few superhero comics.
   After 50 years of reading and collecting funny books my tastes have changed. 
   I always enjoyed non-superhero titles, especially DC war books and all sorts of horror and SF, but because most of my favorite artists drew superheroes they remained a mainstay.  That’s no longer the case. 
   A few months ago I realized I am now buying more titles from Archie than from Marvel and DC combined.  
   I appreciate the simple (but by no means simplistic) nature of the stories and the clean, unadorned art. With Archie titles you know what you’re getting, and while that might be a negative for some for me it’s a definite plus.  
   Betty and Veronica #274 is a great example of the effortless complexity of the best Archie titles.  
   It’s the second part of an arc in which the two best friends/bitter rivals become exchange students, leaving Riverdale for a year to live first in England, than India, and later on to other yet unspecified countries. 
   All the boys of Riverdale bemoan their leaving (and try to sabotage their doing so) until they meet Violette (a Parisian doll) and Banni (an Indian Princess).  
   It’s the ideal set up for a new love triangle, and you can bet our carrot topped Casanova will be in the middle of it. 
   Archie mainstay Dan Parent, ably assisted by Bob Smith, supplies the art while veteran writer Dan Uslan tosses in more than a few verbal gags and turns of phrase.  It’s classic Archie in all the best ways!
Grade: A

   Meanwhile over in Archie’s own title (issue #663) our hero, following the sort of improbable mishap that seems to pursue him, finds himself minus wheels. 
   Of course he has a big date with Veronica coming up so, in desperation, he borrows his grandfather’s scooter.  
   Little does Archie know that Veronica’s luxury Italian sports car is also out of commission, forcing our raven haired heroine to find her own alternate means of transport.  
   The real hilarity ensues when a world renowned opera singer is scheduled to perform at Riverdale High (much to the dismay of the student body) and Archie is given the unenviable task of getting him from the airport to the stage.
   In typical Archie fashion everything goes wrong until it goes right and then goes wrong again.   
   Yes, it’s a tried and true formula but it’s one, when done rightly, never grows old.  
   And that’s the beauty of Archie comics and one reason I find them so darn entertaining!
Grade: B+

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