- Posted by Johanna on January 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm
- Category: Archie Comics
- CREDITS: script by Paul Kupperberg; pencils by Jeff Shultz; inks by Jim Amash
- PUBLISHER: Archie Comics; $2.99 US
Paul Kupperberg, former DC editor and current writer of Life With Archie, brings some of the real-life-influenced drama from that title to this one in an issue-length story of survival. I found it a pleasant change from the usual “which girl will date Archie this weekend?” story structure, with some real-life lessons for readers.
Betty has been visiting Veronica at her mountain lodge (hee hee), and the two girls set out for home just as a severe snowstorm begins. When a deer runs across their path, their car skids off the road, and Betty hits her head. (You can read this sequence online at the Archie blog.) The rest of the issue consists of Veronica taking care of Betty, keeping them alive until they can be found.
The story is structured to be unique to Veronica, in that she keeps her spirits up by reminding herself of business lessons she’s learned from her dad. It’s a pleasure to see another side of her character beyond the selfish fashion plate so frequently fallen back on, one that is uniquely hers. She’s determined, as always, but in this case, her determination has a more useful purpose.
The approach of relating everything back to corporate lessons is distinctive, with Veronica thinking of her activities as getting started a new business dedicated to survival. Her gathering wood while thinking of it as reserve capital for the future is amusing and memorable. It’s also informative seeing her pick herself up after stumbles and keep trying, solving problems of starting a fire and creating a signal for help, among others.
The art clearly tells the story in dramatic but readable fashion. I felt bad for Betty — she’s often drawn (as shown here) glassy-eyed and slightly out of it, hunched over in a small part of the panel, symbolizing her malady. Veronica also gets some emotional moments, first freaking out but pulling herself together to protect her friend. As she tells herself, “If I’m going to run Lodge Industries one day, I’d better start proving I can handle it!” That reminder, that she does have purpose beyond being pretty, is one of the most modern takes I’ve seen for Veronica in a while. I really appreciated this adventure-style tale for the two best friends as a way to show unexpected sides to long-running, familiar characters.