Title: Fantasy Flair and other stories
Writer: George Gladir, Mike Pellowski, Tom DeFalco, John Rose
Pencils: Pat Kennedy, Tim Kennedy
Inks: Mike DeCarlo
Colorist: Digikore Studios
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Cover Artist: Fernando Ruiz
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Publisher: Archie Comics
This issue of Betty brings us a whopping four all-new stories, which is pretty much the formula for some of them to suck. The first one, “Fantasy Flair,” is okay. Betty is lounging about reading back issues of Pureheart the Powerful, and begins to imagine life as the girlfriend of Archie-as-Pureheart. Being a superhero’s gal pal sounds like it’d be a blast, but Archie’s essential… “Archieness” begins to encroach on Betty’s fantasy, showing it to not quite be all it’s cracked up to be. Many of the weaker Archie stories across the board suffer from the same problem this one does – a lack of an actual story. There’s no plot here, no conflict, just Betty daydreaming for eight pages.
The second story, “Just Relax,” looks like it’s going to escape that trap, but quickly falls into the same problem. Betty’s summer job is wearing her out, and her father’s job isn’t much better. The Cooper family decides to take a vacation, and Betty invites Midge to come along. (I’m assuming either Veronica was on a ritzy vacation in Europe or – perhaps a little more entertaining – Betty is currently angry with her over some Archie-related shenanigan.) It’s a good set-up, but from there it’s just several pages expounding upon how Betty’s definition of relaxation differs from her father’s. Not… not really a story.
The third story, “Love the One You’re With,” is a bit better on this front. Written by Tom DeFalco, who has shown he knows a thing or two about writing teenagers, this story features Betty getting jilted (again) by Archie for a fancier date with Veronica. She turns to Dilton for a comforting shoulder, which leads Moose to make an observation about his little buddy that Betty would never realize and Dilton would never admit. You know that any time somebody tries to add a side to the Betty-Archie-Veronica love triangle it’ll only be temporary, but this is one time I think it may actually be interesting to play with it for a little while. If nothing else, it’s fun to see a story where Moose gets to be the smart one for a change.
Finally, we have “Shell Belle,” in which Betty and Jughead take a group of brownies to the beach and then help them out with an arts and crafts project. You know what, I take back what I say about the first two stories in this issue, this is a story with no plot. For heaven’s sake, the biggest word balloon in the story literally says “LET’S CLEAN UP OUR MESS!” Seriously. I suppose there’s an attempt here to give kids a project they can do at home, and you can probably use Betty’s instructions to copy their project if you really want to, but for those of us actually reading the comic, it’s unbearably dull.
Honestly, this isn’t a great issue, but it’s helped by good art throughout and a very interesting Dilton story.