For a crossover that should be overloaded with fun antics, Harley & Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica is just mediocre.
Marc Andreyko and Paul Dini started this miniseries quite beautifully, bringing different worlds together in unexpected, yet completely believable, ways. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two issues because they featured a plethora of characters in all of their glory. We had Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn mixing it up with the gang we love from Riverdale. The dialogue was sharp, and there were tons of nods and homages to the history of comics. And then… the actual plot started up.
Our titular characters experienced a body swap, traded places, got into a number of shenanigans, and while it should have been fun, it just felt tired. The focus shifted from the characters themselves – which I think we can all agree is what makes the Archie universe and Harley/ Ivy beloved and fun to experiment with – to focus on the scenario. On paper, this should still be fun. Having Harley and Ivy trying to survive Riverdale High School as Betty and Veronica, while Betty and Veronica try to survive Gotham as Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn… The book should write itself. Unfortunately, this Freaky Friday scenario wore out its welcome within half an issue.
The biggest disappointment is that the characters have become lost in all of this mess. I expected the likes of Archie, Jughead, and Catwoman to become M.I.A. since the book isn’t about them, but even Harley, Ivy, Betty, and Veronica have also gone missing in a sense. For roughly three issues now, we’ve watched as the girls pretend to be one another, and since they’re pretending to be someone else, we haven’t gotten a good portrayal of the characters we love. It’s like reading a cheap knockoff. It was a good idea, but the execution wasn’t there, and the writers should’ve moved on two issues ago.
I thought we would see some improvement in this issue because the plot finally progresses to get each of the girls in their own body. I’ll admit, I was super excited to see this happen, hoping the quality of the writing would return to form. Spoiler: It didn’t. Now that the girls are back in their own bodies, all of the plots are funneling together so the story can wrap up next month. So on top of dealing with Harley and Ivy’s plan, we’re also getting Betty and Veronica’s involvement/ awareness of everything, Sweetwater Swamp, Lenny, Regie, the kids of Riverdale, and more. The plot has become so convoluted that it’s hard to enjoy. Andreyko and Dini also try to throw in a few twists and double-crosses in this issue, which doesn’t help their case.
Despite all of these misses in execution, you’d think Harley & Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica would at least be silly enough to be fun, but the issue falls short in this department as well. Yes, the book is silly and over the top, but the jokes and scenarios are so cliché or predictable that they don’t land. The creative team managed to land a single chuckle from me in a scene where Harley and Betty trade insults, only for Harley to insult herself in an effort to prove a point. It was the first time in the entire issue that I felt the characters were written true to form, and that the joke wasn’t so blatantly obvious.
I know it sounds like I’m trashing Harley & Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica, but I promise, I’m not. I’ve pinpointed a number of opportunities the book has, but it isn’t terrible… It’s just as average and predictable as a book can get. I wish I could bring myself to recommend it, but I can’t.
Both covers for this issue look fantastic. Jen Bartel crafted the main cover that features imposter Betty and Veronica (really Harley and Ivy) swooning over Archie. Yes, its weird when you think of it as two adults hitting on a high school kid, but the point gets across. Archie has moved from boy-next-door to heartthrob thanks to K.J. Apa on Riverdale. The variant cover is by Bilquis Evely & Mat Lopes, and is probably one of my favorite covers from the run! The execution is decent, but I’m partial to how fun the cover is. The hilarity of Betty and Veronica screaming in terror while on a Moped with Harley and Ivy is a better representation of what I expected from this title. I don’t know what story that is, but it looks way more fun than what we’re actually getting.
Laura Braga continues to deliver the internal art, and it continues to be fine. There’s nothing worth writing home about, but it isn’t atrocious either, so we’ll consider that a plus. Braga has a cartoony nature to art that plays well with the story. The book needs a slapstick nature to it, and she delivers.
- If it has Harley or Ivy, you’re down!
- You like cliché, predictable jokes.
- You’re bored and have extra cash to spend.
Overall: The best way I can describe Harley & Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica, is to say that it’s an exercise in what writers shouldn’t do with a crossover of this nature. You’re most likely coming into this because you love the characters featured in the book, but I’m still looking for said characters since their representation here falls so short of my expectation.