I made a public pledge back in February 2013 to support all of Archie Comics' original titles. This wasn't a huge leap for me since I was already purchasing most of their original books. But there was one title that I hadn't been getting that I finally began purchasing the very month: BETTY & VERONICA. BETTY & VERONICA began a new "Fairy Tale Princess" theme last issue, which seems like it will continue for a few more issues. B&V #264 was a re-make of Rapunzel, this issue was Beauty and the Beast, which will be followed by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and the fourth issue will be a Little Mermaid issue.
"Betty and the Beast" is very much inspired by the Disney "Beauty and the Beast" cartoon. A vain prince gets cursed and transformed into a monster. His curse won't get reversed unless someone can show him true love. Not only that, but this expression of love needs to happen before he turns 21. This story also featured several Archie Comics characters (Miss Grundy, Kevin, Chuck, and Jughead) who also got affected by the curse and transformed into talking trinkets. The only thing missing was a musical soundtrack.
Prince Archibald was the handsome prince who needed to find a wife. Veronica was a witch who wanted to rule the kingdom alongside Archibald, but he decided that he didn't love her and rejected her affections, thus prompting the curse. Later on, Betty's father became one of Prince Archibald's prisoners. Fearing for his health, Betty negotiated with the Beast to have her father freed and replaced by her. Gradually the two fall in love and the curse is broken. I'd worry about spoilers, but it's a pretty straight forward adaptation of the Disney adaptation of the fairy tale.
I have to admit it. I'm not a huge fan of this fairy tale series. I think I would've preferred it more if they had broken down one issue into three or four short stories featuring the Riverdale Gang in different fairy tale stories. Given that this book only gets released every other month, readers who aren't huge fans of fairy tales will have to find ourselves patiently riding this theme almost a full year. That's a long time!
I will add that I enjoyed the artwork and the story itself, though predictably faithful, had a few chuckle moments. That "ugly stick" comment by Betty (at the top of this blog entry) was so anti-Betty. And I loved it! Reggie also cracked me up in his role as Gaston!
Don't get me wrong. This wasn't a terrible comic book. I know that there are lots of readers who really get off on the whole "Disney Princess" thing. I'm just not one of them. I'll follow along until the theme ends -- and it's very possible that the following two fairy tales will knock my socks off. But I'm really looking forward to future BETTY & VERONICA issues where the stories will be more grounded in high school reality.