Team-Up Improbable: Harley and Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica

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Harley and Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica

DC is teaming up with Archie Comics (after teaming up with IDW, Dynamite, and Dark Horse -- gosh is there somebody missing from all the company-crossover fun? Let's marvel over that for a moment...) to bring us the team-up that nobody demanded: Harley & Ivy and Betty & Veronica!

A few years ago, this crossover would have resulted in a fab foursome, and I'd have chunked over good change for it. (Forgive me while I dream over what a Dan DeCarlo page of that story would have looked like.) But this is the new Archie, the now Archie, the edgy-and-hip Archie, and Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are much more friendly with each other than Riverdale's former best buds, who spend their time snipping at each other. The old rivalry has evolved into a cooler-than-chilling frenemy relationship that's built more on tolerance than friendship.

The plot of the tale is simple: Hiram Lodge is about to act philanthropically by building a free college and student supply area. Oh who are we kidding, it's a school with no-credit entrepreneur and real estate wealth classes that's made to be a draw toward a high-end expensive strip mall. And the kicker is that he's building it on wetlands as soon as he "drains the swamp." (Are we seeing enough parallels here, or is it just me?)

But Sweetwater Swamp has a protector of the green (Ooh, there's an Archie Horror title that would have done well! But no, not Alec Holland...) in the form of Poison Ivy, who knows that the swampland is home to some plant species that only grow there. (Isn't that ever the case that some plants are so very rare they only grow in one localized wet area in the Temperate States of America?)  She's ready to go in, guns blazing, to protect the area, until Harley steps in as the voice of reason. Yes, Harley Quinn is the voice of reason. Let that sink in. So the two instead go in civilian disguise to try to persuade Lodge of the value of the wetlands to the plants and the animals there.

Nope, that didn't work. So on to Plan B. Kidnap Veronica!

Meanwhile, in Riverdale, the town is preparing for a Lodge costume gala, with the theme of "Heroes & Villains." When Veronica's Paris original arrives with a major goof, she's forced to go retail shopping with Betty for the slim pickings that remain in the costume shop run by Kevin Keller and Sabrina Spellman. And when Harley and Ivy show up at the gala, in full costume, ready to capture the young Miss Lodge, you'll never guess what costumes B&V settled on. (Oh yeah you will, you're much smarter than that!)

My prediction is that the remaining three issues (oh wait, holy crap, they're dragging this out for SIX issues?) will result in Betty seeing Ivy's side of things, ultimately convincing Veronica, who will cry to daddy to save the swamp. Or we could get something exciting happening and see Poison Ivy suddenly under suspicion for Jason Blossom's murder while Archie starts to have an affair with Miss Harley.

Let's face it, the concept of the four girls meeting is something that works great on the visual level -- a fan art level -- but the storyline is something that needs work. A lot of work. Which is kind of surprising since the story is co-written by Harley creator Paul Dini, paired with veteran writer Marc Andreyko. And the whole "visual level" on which the thing should have worked...doesn't. Oh, it's great on both the covers, the one by Amand a Conner and Paul Mounts, and the variant by Adam Hughes. But the interiors by Laura Braga are flat, caricaturish, and in places downright sloppy.

If you want to see Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Betty and Veronica in action together, then go to your nearest convention, plop down about $100 to the artist of your choice, and commission a pinup.

2.5 / 5.0