Harley Quinn and Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica #1 Review: The Title Says It All
Last summer at San Diego Comic-Con, DC’s co-publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee made a point about saying that DC didn’t need to crossover with characters from other companies to create excitement. That may be true, but it hasn’t stopped them from rolling out some unlikely crossovers like Wonder Woman ‘77 and The Bionic Woman or even Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Harley Quinn and Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica is a different animal altogether. Most of DC’s crossovers are reserved for their icons, while Harley and Ivy have really only hit the big time within the last few years. Of course, Betty and Veronica have been around for decades, and they’ve been headliners and even icons much longer than DC’s deadly duo.
For the first issue, Paul Dini and Marc Andreyko’s script doesn’t really succeed in smoothly bringing the two worlds together. It’s probably for the best that they simply let the readers assume that the DC heroes already co-exist with the Archies. The problem is that they’ve chosen the more realistic Archie reboot characters, and they don’t quite fit in as well with the comedic overtones of Harley and Ivy. In fact, they’re almost entirely incompatible with them, which is probably why Dini and Andreyko’s characterization of Betty and Veronica resembles their classic counterparts. They just happen to look like their modern incarnations.
Unsurprisingly, it’s the Harley and Ivy side of the story that offers the most fun. Dini is the co-creator of Harley, and he even comes up with a terrific excuse to bring back the classic Harley and Ivy costumes, which Laura Braga exquisitely renders. Dini and Andreyko spent a few too many pages setting up the final page gag for both titular duos, but it was worth it to see Betty and Veronica as Spy vs. Spy, if only for a panel.
There’s a lot of inherent goofiness and joy in the premise of this crossover, and Braga’s art does an admirable job of marrying the more realistic style of Archie with the heightened reality of superhero comics. That said, the issue almost feels like it’s at war with itself. The Archie side of the plot barely relates to Harley and Ivy’s story at all despite the contrived reason that the two women have come to Riverdale. It’s almost as if Dini and Andreyko are holding back on the insanity for now, but it made the issue less enjoyable than it could have been.
Taken as a single issue, Harley and Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica #1 isn’t quite a home run If we’re keeping the baseball metaphor, it’s more like a double. But a solid premise with great characters and good artwork can go a long way. Plus, those Adam Hughes and Amanda Conner covers are truly excellent. If the rest of the series can live up to the humor and life in those images, then it will be worth it. For now, it’s not quite at the level that we were hoping for.
Images: DC Comics/Archie Comics