REVIEW: 'Betty and Veronica: Vixens' #5 by Jamie L. Rotante, Eva Cabrera, and Elaina Unger
The Vixens reluctantly take on a surprising new member and use their muscle to come to a friend's rescue.
'Betty and Veronica: Vixens' ends the current arc with a surprising addition and a sober new development. There's plenty of fun thrown in too but Jaime Rotante is finding a balance between serious and amusing that is taking this alt-world story to another level. We say goodbye to Eva Cabrera as regular artist with a characteristically great issue full of fun designs. 'Vixens' is audacious as it blazes its own path in the Archie universe. Betty, Veronica, and the gang wield girl power like brass knuckles to the face and it's glorious.
BETTY AND VERONICA: VIXENS #5
Writer: Jamie L Rotante
Artist: Eva Cabrera, Elaina Unger
Letterer: Rachel Deering
Publisher: Archie Comics
Release Date: April 4, 2018
Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
When I began reading 'Vixens' I knew it would be a cool alternative series where Riverdale's girls form a biker gang and kick ass but I didn't expect how it would evolve over that time. Here, in issue #5 Veronica takes the girls on a field trip to see roller derby for "bonding and networking." Veronica is taking this gang leadership seriously and I love the thought of them fortifying their alliances if and when the Serpents come back for revenge.
I hate revealing who emerges from the roller derby as one of the more aggressive participants who also wants to join the Vixens. If it wasn't already in the preview I wouldn't mention it's Cheryl Blossom but her addition riles Betty so much it becomes a tense relationship. She has to prove herself to the gang which she does quickly. She's just as vicious as you'd hope she'd be.
Issue 5 also addresses domestic abuse and I'm glad writer Jamie Rotante went there. It's an important issue and one that goes underreported among teens. I just wished Toni's friend's predicament had gotten more development, some more context and more of a resolution. Nonetheless, the Vixens answered the call and took care of business giving that jerk what he deserved. They are a gang, after all.
This is the last issue Eva Cabrera does pencils for before Jen Vaughn takes over. She'll continue to contribute covers but her charismatic designs and cool rockabilly fashions will be missed. She goes out in style with some fun roller derby action and an intense build-up to the previously mentioned confrontation. As usual, colorist Elaina Unger sets the tone with some brilliant pastel colors including some splashes of bold hair colors but to be quite honest, the Vixens in black look pretty badass.