Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Review: Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica #1

DC COMICS – @DCComics @ArchieComics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Paul Dini and Marc Andreyko
ART: Laura Braga
COLORS: Tony Avina and Arif Prianto
LETTERS: Deron Bennett
EDITOR: Kristy Quinn
COVER: Amanda Conner with Paul Mounts
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (December 2017)

Rated “T” for “Teen”

“Costume Drama” Part One

DC Comics villain, Harley Quinn, originated as a character on the animated television series, “Batman: The Animated Series” (FOX Network, 1992).  Created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, Harley debuted in the episode “Joker’s Favor” (September 11, 1992), as a female sidekick of The Joker and his eventual accomplice.  Harley made her first comic book appearance in The Batman Adventures #12 (cover dated: September 1993), DC Comics’ comic book spin-off of the animated series.

Poison Ivy (whose real name is Pamela Lillian Isley) is a DC Comics supervillain and an adversary of Batman.  Created by Robert Kanigher and Sheldon Moldoff, Poison Ivy first appeared in Batman #181 (June 1966).  Beginning in “Batman The Animated Series,” Poison Ivy has been depicted as a close associate and girl pal of Harley Quinn's, probably beginning with the “Batman: The Animated Series” episode “Harley & Ivy” (1993).

Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge are better known as Archie's Girls Betty and Veronica in the world of Archie Comics.  Betty first appeared in Pep Comics #22 (cover dated: December 1941) and Veronica first appeared in Pep Comics #26 (cover dated: April 1942).  The duo are depicted as “best friends and worst enemies” (the original frenemies?) mainly because Veronica, the spoiled daughter of a wealthy man, has been Betty's rival for Archie Andrews affections since she debuted 75 years ago.

DC Comics' Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy and Archie Comics' Betty and Veronica come together in the new six-issue crossover comic book, Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica.  This comic book series is written by Paul Dini and Marc Andreyko; drawn by Laura Braga; colored by Tony Aviña and Arif Prianta; and lettered by Deron Bennett.

Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica #1 opens with Hiram Lodge, businessman and industrialist (and Veronica's father), announcing his intention to turn the Riverdale wetlands reserve, Sweetwater Swamp, into a new development.  That development will include the free college, “Lodge University,” and the “shopping, dining, and entertainment destination, “Lodge's Sweetwater Centre.”

Meanwhile, in Gotham City, Poison Ivy isn't taking the announcement of Lodge's plans with any happiness, because she says that Sweetwater Swamp is a unique ecosystem that is home to rare species of plants.  With Harley Quinn in tow, Poison Ivy heads to Riverdale to stop Hiram Lodge.  What these villainous anti-heroines don't realize is that the trip will reveal two rivals who may be more than a match for them, Betty & Veronica.

I am a longtime Archie Comics fan, so I like Betty & Veronica, of course, with a preference for Betty Cooper.  I have mixed feelings, however, for Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy; I can take them or leave them, depending upon the work in which they appear.  And I can leave this comic book.

Yes, Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica is written by two accomplished writers; one of them is the co-creator of Harley and is an Emmy-winning television writer-producer, Paul Dini.  On the other hand, I have found much of Paul Dini's comic book output to be mediocre work, as this seems to be.  I will admit that this comic book has potential, but this first issue is average comic book product.

The art is mediocre, too; artist Laura Braga seems to be doing some kind of unfortunate copy of the style of comic book artist, Adam Hughes, the creative force behind the current Betty & Veronica comic book.  The coloring here represents the bad side of comic book coloring software; the coloring looks like smudged pastels, spoiled milkshakes, and faded candy-coated paint.

I know there is an audience for this, but for two such venerable characters (Betty & Veronica) and two such popular modern characters (Harley & Ivy), a better effort than Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica #1 should have been made.

4.5 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2017 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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