It's all led up to this! Southside Serpents versus Riverdale's Vixens in the arc finale to end all arc finales.
BETTY AND VERONICA: VIXENS #4
Writer: Jamie L Rotante
Artist: Eva Cabrera, Elaina Unger
Letterer: Rachel Deering
Publisher: Archie Comics
Release Date: February 28, 2018
Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★★ (5/5)
In the last issue, the gauntlet was thrown down. The Vixens will race the Serpents to decide the fate of Riverdale. Vixens win and the Serpents stay out of town, lose and they can run roughshod all over the place. It's the moment we've been promised and a chance for Jamie L. Rotante to show just how down the ladies of Riverdale really are as a biker gang.
'Vixens' has grown to be my favorite Archie title (sorry, Mark Waid) because Rotante has kept what makes Betty and Veronica so iconic while giving them an edge that just feels right under the circumstances. This could have been just another light-hearted affair and who could blame you for thinking otherwise. Most stories outside of Archie's horror line are fun, campy, feel-good adventures and even when things look to take a serious turn, it's softened with some comedy. Here, Rotante has brought the Vixens along from a collection of motivated girls to a full-fledged gang. After training and executing some small-scale acts of vigilantism, the moment of truth arrives for the Vixens when they finally take on the Serpents.
Rotante doesn't hold back, she carries through with this exciting premise of Betty, Veronica, Midge, Ethel, Toni, and Evelyn joining forces to defend Riverdale when the boys wouldn't. Look, it's still a little jarring seeing the ladies of Riverdale literally kicking ass when the showdown takes an ugly turn. It's safe to safe you've never seen Betty and Veronica like this before. There is a creative line a creator has to cross to stay true to the material. Sometimes it's a publisher that will them back in order to protect their proprietary characters but to Archie's credit, they let Rotante go there. Instead of watering down the climax, it crosses that line to legitimize everything that happened before it and is much better for it.
Eva Cabrera and Elaina Unger have been consistently excellent with the art that gives Rotante's script its style and attitude. Cabrera's character designs especially the rockabilly/50's greaser fashion is the perfect aesthetic for this old-school story. Unger's colors are warm and inviting with plenty of contrast between the Vixens in action and the Vixens back at Riverdale High, emphasizing the duality of their existence. It will be interesting to see how the series looks when Jen Vaughn takes over for Cabrera on interior art with the new arc starting with issue six.
'Betty and Veronica: Vixens' is not a guilty pleasure it's just a great time. Betty and Veronica as gang leaders is not just a cute idea it's the real deal as this issue solidifies what Rotante promised. Don't underestimate the strength of girl power when the Vixens take on the Serpents in this explosive issue. 'Vixen' keeps proving that Betty, Veronica, and their crew ain't nothing to mess with.