Review - Betty and Veronica #1 (@ArchieComics)

"I can't believe summer's over already."

Betty and Veronica are friends and rivals who need one another to thrive. And while it's often entertaining when they're unhappy with one another, Archie Comics has a different approach in mind in Betty and Veronica #1. The issue is written by Jamie Lee Rotante, illustrated by Sandra Lanz, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick and lettered by Jack Morelli.

Betty and Veronica go where they've never gone before-their senior year of high school! Only one school year stands between them and freedom, but when the two BFFs think they'll be attending the same college in the fall find out that their plans have changed, their senior year-and their friendship-is put to the test!

Like any good friendship, Betty and Veronica #1 allows Rotante to show the timeless frenemies at a high point in their friendship. Rotante relies on the summer between junior and senior years in laying the foundation for the extraordinarily close bond the two characters share throughout their lives by allowing them to be vulnerable with one another. There are many instances where Betty and Veronica are distilled down to being two choices for Archie so it's really great to see Rotante ensuring readers know that they are their own people and don't have to be identified by Archie. In fact, the two of them make a pact in the issue to just focus on themselves and not find themselves constantly in competition with one another; instead, Rotante gives them time to focus on their futures. That being said, the ending of the issue provides a test of their recent pact and will dictate the direction of the series going forward as well.

The line art by Lanz feels refreshing and extremely adept at capturing their facial expressions during their primary heart-to-hearts. The drawing style relies on thin, wispy lines with soft edges for illustrating all the player. Lanz manages to capture the visual flair of the older comics while contemporizing it slightly, ensuring that Betty and Veronica are easily recognizable. The panels are laid out in a relatively standard way for most of the issue, but Lanz moves a little out of the box on a couple of pages where Betty and Veronica are lying down, but then they're inverted to fit the vertical page. Fitzpatrick's coloring is generally bright and airy throughout the issue.

Betty and Veronica #1 is a great first issue for a new take on the relationship between the two title characters. Betty and Veronica are at a point where they're tired of fighting one another, seeking to find a common ground where they can trust one another with anything. Rotante's dialogue is very much in keeping with the franchise tonally. Lanz does a strong job on the art in making the characters feel more modern. Betty and Veronica #1 is worth a read if you're looking for another saga in Riverdale friendships.

Betty and Veronica #1 is available now.