Two books that I cover are ending this week. For one of them, The Shadow/ Batman, I’m quite sad it is coming to a close. Then there’s Harley and Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica. I don’t want to say that reviewing this book has felt like a chore, but I haven’t enjoyed reading it, much less taking the time to draft a critical opinion about it. In fact, I handed Harley, Ivy, Betty, and Veronica their bags on their way out, said bye, and locked the door behind them after I finished this issue (for a lack of better words).
This chapter brings us the conclusion of Harley and Ivy’s trip to Riverdale. There have been some great moments early in the series, a body swap that leads to some fun shenanigans before the plot overstayed its welcome, and now we’re left with our titular characters tied up in a construction site. To make matters worse, Lenny planted bombs at Sweetwater Swamp in an attempt to sabotage Lodge’s plans and subsequently gain a ton of money through insurance.
In this issue, it’s up to Harley, Ivy, Betty, Veronica, and the kids of Riverdale to save the day. Our ladies of the hour manage to free themselves – as expected, and begin an assault on Lenny while attempting to dig up the bombs and save the citizens of Riverdale. The spectacle is… ok… I guess. We do get to see the likes of Archie and Jughead jump into the action, so that’s fun, but it’s honestly not enough to save the book.
The action in this issue is slap-stick, which I’m ok with, but it’s accompanied by dialogue that is so ridiculous, it’s cringe-worthy. It’s legitimately bad! And this is coming from a guy who loves stupid jokes or “dad jokes.” Instead of getting anything remotely refreshing, fun, or original though, we get the likes of this instead:
Fruit jokes… Said to a guy with a peach for a head. Who didn’t see this coming? Yes, it’s a moment worthy of an eye roll, and then it happens again… and again… and again. I believe it was at this point that I stopped reading to see what page I was on, so I’d know how much more nonsense I’d need to endure. That’s never a good sign.
The problem here is that everything in this chapter feels completely uninspired. There have been a number of misses from Marc Andreyko and Paul Dini throughout the series, but nothing as blatant as this issue. Even when I dislike the overall story, I tend to find moments or jokes that I think are executed well. That’s not the case here. Instead, everything we encounter appears to be phoned in. I never thought I’d say this about a script with Dini’s name on it, but the writing is lazy.
There’s a childish nature to the script that doesn’t sit well with me. I know I lean more towards serious, darker content, but I’ve been known to praise a book for being fun and lighthearted as well (Lil Gotham, Super Sons, Gotham Academy, Batman ’66, etc). The difference with these examples and this title is strictly in execution. These examples were written carefully, and crafted in spectacular ways. There were moments in the first two issues of Harley & Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica that delivered this quality – moments that I praised with admiration – and then the narrative began to spiral downward quickly.
Out of all of the shenanigans, the fight, the “group hug” moment to wrap up the story, etc… There’s one, single moment that I actually enjoyed. Just one. It involves Harley, Jughead, and a whole lot of burgers!
The Art: First thing, I have to praise Tula Lotay’s cover! It looks incredible, and if were unaware of this title and meandering through a comic shop, I’d definitely be curious! This looks like a “bad girl” version of the story we got, and I’m kind of wishing we could get this script instead!
As for the interiors, Laura Braga wraps her run on the book. Her work is solid, but nothing to necessarily write home about. Her pencils are consistent though, and the tone of her art matches the tone of the story quite well. Action isn’t her strong suit, and some of her panels with Ivy were a little hard to follow as they didn’t transition smoothly. Aside from that though, the art is probably the best attribute of Harley & Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica from start to finish.
- You’re a completist.
- You enjoy lazy writing and tired, uninspired jokes.
Overall: What started as a refreshing, fun, idea, turned into a silly, nonsensical mess full of tired, predictable, and overused jokes and plots. I wish I could say I recommend Harley & Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica, but I can’t bring myself to do it in good faith.