This week, Harley and Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica experience a Freaky Friday-type event!
Gotham and Riverdale come crashing together in this crossover that has the sirens and vixens crossing paths. No, there isn’t any plausible reason why this crossover should work, and yet, somehow, it does. The biggest question I had coming into this was how Dini and Andreyko were going to create a believable reason for Harley, Ivy, Betty, and Veronica to meet… And they answered that question quite well. Hiram Lodge wants to drain a local swamp, and Pamela isn’t going to let that happen… Easy enough, right?
Well, things get a little interesting when Harley and Ivy arrive at a costume benefit, where Betty and Veronica are dressed as… You guessed it: Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. We are treated with some great, nostalgic nods to the history of comics, some fun shenanigans, and a classic who’s-who moment before Zatanna and Sabrina decide to make the event a little more magical, and cast a spell to cause the girls to undergo a body swap.
This issue picks up the morning after the benefit and plays heavily into Harley, Ivy, Betty, and Veronica discovering they’re not themselves anymore. Imagine, if you will, Harley and Ivy waking up in Riverdale, and having to go to high school. Better yet, imagine Betty and Veronica waking up in Gotham as notorious criminals. That’s what you get here, and it really is a fun concept. The set-up of these characters in these situations play out well, and a number of the jokes land as you would expect. I do think Dini and Andreyko could’ve gone a little further or overexaggerated some of the humor here, but that’s simply a matter of taste. Also, we’re only halfway through the series by this issue, so I’m certain the writers are holding some laughs for later in the arc.
Unfortunately, this chapter found a few problems – most of which stem from consistency. While we learned the girls/ ladies had experienced a body swap at the end of last month’s issue, the details of the body swap are revealed in this issue and they don’t completely line up with other instances. Harley and Ivy’s situation differs slightly from Betty and Veronica. And not to give anything away, but they may not be the only ones who experienced a body swap – which may or may not be problematic for the characters and the book itself. In all, it’s a fun chapter, but the logistics cause this issue to stumble a little for me.
Sandy Jarrel and Kelly Fitzpatrick created the cover for this issue. It manages to capture the tone of this chapter quite well, and is also a strong representation of the story you get inside, but if I’m being honest, the cover is just ok. It does have a throwback look to classic Archie comics, but I don’t think it will do anything to help convince readers that are skeptical of this mini to give it a chance. Stephanie Hans’ variant, however, is beautiful and brilliant! I’d much rather see this as the main cover, because I think it’s head and shoulders better than the standard cover. I loved the silhouettes of Harley and Ivy behind Betty and Veronica, and believe it’s stronger from both a creative and technical standpoint.
Laura Braga delivers the internal art, and I’m continuing to enjoy her work. The tone of her art matches the script perfectly, and the storytelling is sold by Braga’s ability to convey the lighthearted and humorous emotions of the story. The pencils could stand to contain a little more finesse, but I like the bit of texture brought to the story.
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
Fun. No matter how you spin it, this book is a lot of fun. Pure, mindless fun. No, it isn’t the best writing, nor is it perfect, but considering the situation of the story itself, Dini and Andreyko have been consistent in delivering issues that will make you smile. If you’re looking for a light-hearted escape that will give you a chuckle or two, then look no further.
Switcheroo. It’s an old trope, but it always seems to be fun: people switch lives, and are forced to live the other person’s life without tipping anyone off. When you take this idea to the extreme of high school students and criminals, the situation only becomes more interesting. If I’m being completely honest, I thought Harley would be more crazy (in a fun way) than she is in this issue, but I really enjoyed Ivy posing as Veronica and correcting the botany teacher.
Inconsistency. I have a bit of an issue with exactly how this body swap works. Between Harley, Ivy, Betty, and Veronica, they all have swapped bodies with someone else, but have their own memories. Betty and Veronica have Ivy and Harley’s “powers” since they’re in their bodies, therefor Harley and Ivy shouldn’t have powers since they’re in Betty and Veronica’s bodies… But then Harley manages to have an excellent gymnastics routine during gymnastics that is far superior to anything Betty would be able to do, despite being in Betty’s body (plus, gymnastics and acrobats are apparently Harley’s “power”). Beyond this example though, Reggie shows up at the end of the issue, as Joker – in appearance and mindset. This really causes the logic to crumble on itself. For starters, the Joker wasn’t at the benefit, so how did Reggie body swap with him? Second, when everyone else swapped bodies, they maintained their own mind and memories, but Reggie appears to have fully become the Joker. So, there are now three different instances, and they all differ from one another. It’s not a huge deal, but it distracted me enough that it pulled me from my experience while reading.
Ensemble. This issue severely lacks from the banter and quip of the Riverdale ensemble. I know this is Betty and Veronica’s book, but the characters from Riverdale always appear to be at their best when they’re surrounded by their fellow classmates. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but it was definitely missed.
- You want to see Harley and Ivy body swap with Betty and Veronica.
- You want to see Harley and Ivy pull a Billy Madison.
Overall: For me, this chapter of Harley and Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica stumbles a bit as it gets turned around in its own mythology. Combine that with a lower level of fun dialogue, and an absence of nostalgia/ classic comic references, and this ends up being a slightly-above-average read.