Writer: Jamie Lee Rotante
Art: Eva Cabrera
Colors: Elaina Unger (pages 1-14), Matt Herms (pages 15-20*)
Letters: Rachel Deering
Original Publication: Betty & Veronica: Vixens, No. 9
Cover Date: October, 2018
On-Sale Date: August 22, 2018
Length: 19 pages*
*Think about that.
Before the story, there’s a recap of the previous issue on the credits page. It seems to settle Cheryl’s status as an official Vixen.
The original artist, Eva Cabrera, has returned to the series. I’m not sure what happened. Sanya Anwar was credited as the artist in the solicitation. Her name even appeared in the credits at the top of the cover. However, the cover ended up being her only contribution to this issue. The credits on the cover of the released issue have been updated to remove Anwar and credit Cabrera and Herms.
I recently noticed an offhand comment in Archie Comics’ announcement of the upcoming Archie and Betty & Veronica titles that referred to Vixens as an “alternate universe” series. I take issue with this, because there’s really nothing AU about this title. They’re still in high school; they’re just in a biker gang on the side. It’s really just another case of the New Riverdale titles having no inter-title continuity.
Anyway, let’s get into the current issue:
As the Vixens ride, Betty declares “It’s now or never.” She asks Penny and Bubbles if they’re ready. Penny says she is and guesses Doc isn’t keeping the women in his usual base of operations, because it’s too obvious. They try to think like him. Penny has an idea and tells the others to follow her. Betty is unable to get a hold of Veronica.
Veronica flops down on her bed and watches a news report about Cheryl’s disappearance, which also covers her father. As Hermione silently looks in on her, Veronica wonders how it came to this. A couple notes about this scene: Riverdale seemingly has its own local newscast, which indicates it’s large enough to warrant it. Even my entire county doesn’t have its own local newscast. Also, there’s a “13:01” notice on the news ticker, seemingly indicating the time, but why is it in military time? Also, that’s 1:01 PM, but it’s definitely currently nighttime.
Veronica has a series of flashbacks to an unspecified time in the past. Her hair is shoulder-length. There’s a bake sale to raise money to preserve the old General Pickens statue. There are cameos from Moose and Jughead. Jughead’s eating pies, cutting into the potential revenue. Veronica, insisting Lodges innovate and delegate instead of make or sell, places a call to Francois (a chef, I guess), who brings by a truck of free snacks. She then writes Betty a check to cover the cost of preserving the statue.
Some time later, Betty is involved in a protest to save Fox Forest from being torn down by “some mogul” looking to build high-rise apartments. Betty has a nostalgia for the swimming hole, old memories, and their childhoods. Veronica sees a sign and realizes her dad is behind it, so she calls him and suggests he build where the old Pickens statue is instead (wow…). He agrees. When Betty notices the development sign being removed and asks what’s going on, Veronica says she “just pulled some strings”, delighting Betty. Something tells me that she won’t stay delighted for long, but we don’t get to see that.
Back in the present, as Veronica listens to her dad talk on the news about teaming up with Cliff Blossom and offering pay a lot of money for info on Cheryl’s whereabouts, she picks up her cell phone (which was confiscated by her father in the previous issue but already back in her room in this issue) off her night stand and throws it at the TV screen, shattering the latter.
A rock is thrown into the Serpents’ RV (wherever it is). Eve moves to kicks Fangs’ ass. Another Serpent promises no more trouble. Penny wants their help in taking Doc down.
It sounds good to the Serpents. With the aid of a kinda shitty map, Fangs gives them info on Doc’s operations. Betty sends Toni, Evelyn, and Bubbles to “what’s left of” the abandoned warehouse in Midvale (“Yeah, um, pay no attention to any charred corpses that may or may not be there”) and Penny, Sassy, and Midge to Greendale to talk to the locals. She wants Ethel and Pepper to stick with her. Doc and Ang are sitting in Doc’s car, parked outside the RV (how does no one notice this?!). Doc has Ang write everything down.
At Blossom Manor, Mr. Williams is writing down notes about Cheryl, including “an unknown 5K purchase” (her bike, no doubt). He tries to assure Penelope and Clifford. He then calls Mr. Lodge with his findings. Veronica passes by his den and overhears. She confronts her father, believing it’s bullshit that Cheryl is of more importance than Abbey, Sue, and any other potential victims. Mr. Lodge tells her to watch her mouth. By the way, Veronica’s utterance of “bullshit” is cut off by Mr. Lodge, but that’s no surprise at this point.
In Midvale, Toni, Bubbles, and Evelyn rough up Doc’s weapons dealers, who give up the delivery location: an abandoned cabin near Crystal Lake. Toni phones in the info. One of the guys calls, presumably, Doc to let him know, but Eve kicks him, knocking the cell phone from his hand.
In Greendale, Penny and Midge get info out of a guy outside Bananas’ Bar, and Sassy breaks into his van and frees Sue and Abbey.
Back at Lodge Manor, as if no time has passed, Veronica and her dad continue arguing. Veronica wants to find all of the missing girls. Mr. Lodge says it’s not her job. She agrees but insists it’s her duty as a decent person to help the forgotten. Hermione interrupts and returns Veronica’s cell phone to her (it looks like the screen is cracked). Hiram starts to ask why she returned it to Veronica, but Veronica begs her father to let her help her girls, saying she owes all of them. He allows her to do what she wants but also kicks her out of the house.
At the cabin, Doc and Ang watch the Vixens arrive “right on target” at “almost midnight”. The girls prepare to storm the place. There’s a wonderful split-screen, full-page panel of Veronica and Betty, each saying “…I won’t.” (Veronica won’t come back, and Betty won’t back down or hesitate.)
Penny, Midge, Sassy, and Sue arrive. They’d dropped off Abbey at a local woman’s shelter. Betty congratulates the Sassy Thrashers and wants the Vixens to take it from here, but the Thrashers want to stay. Betty has the Thrashers stand guard while the Vixens storm the cabin. Betty asks where Evelyn is. Pepper says they’ll keep an eye out. The Vixens enter the cabin. The door slams shut.
It’s Doc and Ang. Ang has a knife. Doc speechifies. Toni asks Ang why she’s doing this. Doc speechifies about the futility of it all. Doc has a remote detonator to blow up the cabin. It’s set on a one-minute timer. He says there’s only one exit, and only he knows where it is. He’s about to activate the timer.
Suddenly, Cheryl jumps down from the ceiling, kicks Doc to the floor, and plunges a knife (tied to her boot) into the back of his neck! Betty tells Cheryl of the detonator. Ang warns the girls. Veronica crashes her bike through a wall. Betty’s delighted to see her. Ang speechifies at Doc. Doc is about to call her “a worthless piece of shit”, but Ang pulls Cheryl’s knife from his neck and viciously stabs him in the back. He cries out in pain.
The girls escape the cabin, and it blows up. As the cops arrive, Cheryl says she thought she was doing the right thing by getting herself kidnapped (so that was deliberate? it sure didn’t look like it), but she admits she was wrong. Eve, sitting behind the wheel, decides they’ll take ownership of Doc’s car to get away from the cops. So…did she seriously just sit in the car this whole time?
Eve, Sue, Toni, and Ang take Doc’s car, and the others ride bikes. They stop by a cliff and look over it. Midge says they did it. Veronica says they didn’t do enough. Betty asks what happened with her dad. Veronica is sorrowful but resolute. Toni asks if they should go back. Veronica is against it, saying they’ll go forward and adding they can’t go back to Riverdale.
This was another good issue! I’m looking forward to the next one. The caption teases more adventures awaiting the Vixens on the open road…in the final damn issue of the series.
After the story is a one-page cover gallery for this issue and another Riverdale Gazette article (dated August of 2018); this one features two roller derby teams, Steel City Roller Derby of Pittsburgh and Savannah Derby Devils of Savanna. Jamie Lee Rotante says more teams will appear next time. She’s sad to say goodbye but promises the final issue “will be loaded with lots of fun, adventure and even some special cameos”. There’s an ad for the Vixens Volume One trade paperback. Finally, there’s the cover of Betty & Veronica: Vixens #10, which has Betty, Veronica, Midge, Ethel, Cheryl, and Toni lying on the grass and relaxing. Amusingly, Betty has a bandage on her face but is cheerful enough to give a V-for-victory sign and drink an iced coffee.
Tune in next Wednesday!
It takes time and effort to write these reviews, and I do it in my spare time. If you wish to donate, it will be appreciated.