Writers: Mike Pellowski, George Gladir, Bill Golliher, Kathleen Webb
Artists: Stan Goldberg (p), John Lowe (i), Barry Grossman (colors)
Publisher: Archie Comics
Unlike this monthís Archie #572, Betty #162 follows the usual routine of having 4-6 short stories done in longer, slimmer format and while all of them approach it from different story angles, they all seem to have one common target: the on the cusp of her teenage years girl. Where on one side we have the story about a girl growing into womanhood we also have a Betty-style retelling of fairy tales with the in between covered as well.
Story 1: "Hot & Cold" (writer: Mike Pellowski)
Told in an easy way and set in the cold weather time many of us are still going through, the moral of this story is a fairly straight one: "No Pain, No Gain." It shows Betty forcing herself up at the crack of dawn, heck, even before that, not to watch any game or to even shovel the snow (lucky her) but to get to her morning skating practice. Preparing for a competition she puts herself through the morning rush to get an uninterrupted hour at the local ice skating rink (before it opens to public). The one thing that got old with this story was the repeated cold references, although I suspect that this wonít be the case with the younger crowd. As for me, I really need to work on my curmudgeon attitude before the next time I review such a title.
Story 2: "A Foxxy Tale" (Writer: George Gladir)
This one is the fairy tale of the lot, not because of what happens in it. Essentially this is a Betty only story with Betty telling a fairy tale to the children she is babysitting. In order to fulfill the childrenís wish of hearing a story that they had never heard before, she makes one of her own by taking bits and pieces from various preexisting fairy tales. Starting with the one about the lady living in a giant shoe with her children, the meat of the story takes place with the Three Bears & Goldilocks before wrapping up with a nod to Red Riding Hood. Appropriately, Betty calls her story "Goldilocks Betty." This one is perhaps the "youngest" of all four stories.
Story 3: "Tear Jerker" (Writer: Bill Golliher)
Perhaps the lengthiest of all stories in this issue, this one impressed me the least but then I guess it might work differently with female readers. Despite having both Archie and Jughead in it, not to mention Pop Tate, this story is really about the camaraderie between Betty and her mother. Could have done without the whole confused Archie bit though.
Story 4: "Really Special" (Writer: Kathleen Webb)
The most "mature" of this issue's group of stories, I regret to say this is the only story that I skimmed (a few panels) through. Now this has nothing to do with the writing, story or art but rather in being about a young girlís maturing into adulthood and her parentsí realizing it, there was nothing here that I could identify with. Sure I too have been through the same phase but neither my mom nor dad took me out dining and dancing as Mr. Cooper does with his younger daughter. Is it any wonder that I am doing this now? Nevertheless, and I do mean it in the best way possible, this is a 100% chick-flick story.
Conclusion: A time pass read for everyone, this issue leans more towards the female demographic. Then again with a name such as Betty, it isnít meant to be a hardcore action series, is it?
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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