Written by Greg and Meg Smallwood
Art by Greg Smallwood and Jack Morelli
Edited by Alex Segura, Jamie L. Rotante
Published by Archie Comics
Release Date: March 14, 2017

Dark creatures lurk amongst the shadows in Riverdale. But what happens when Veronica Lodge has a chance encounter with one of these mythological monsters? Find out in this first issue of Vampironica!

The Smallwoods bring to life an exciting Archie Horror what-if, feeling somewhere in between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Hellsing. I love the depiction of Veronica in this. In control, a badass queen bee whose only weakness is the strangely loveable Archie, Veronica stands out as the best character in her titular comic, which can be a difficult task to manage. She’s cocky, takes no BS, and will not just lay down and die like a good girl. She’s a scrappy fighter who won’t indulge the tropes, and I think that’s why I love her so much.

Greg Smallwood’s art is amazing. It’s somewhere between the pop art of early comics and a modern, almost minimalistic approach when you look at the great spacing in the paneling. The scenes always have sort of action to them, something pulling you towards the exciting moments.

One of my favorite scenes is when Veronica steps out of a pool. Blood begins to encircle the place she fell in, where she took some creepy party crashers with her. It swallows up the blue of the water, a vibrant red surrounding as the top of Veronica’s head appears from the depths. Clothes soaked, body drenched, Veronica steps out of the pool dragging the two party crashers, half of the water blood stained, her teeth pointed, glowing red eyes piercing the soul of the viewer as she gazes over at Cheryl, saying “Hey, Cheryl. Cool party.”

There’s something gripping about the scene because of that art, the theatricality of her stepping back onto the surface. It’s chilling and makes you want more.

The lettering is really well done. I love the care Morelli places into his work, from the “three days ago” flashback word bubbles to the animation within the cheerleading text. My favorite thing, though, is the “WHAM” panel. Instead of just saying “WHAM” as a man hits the shield of a car, the entire panel is transformed into the word, creating a bigger impact while you’re reading. It’s captivating.

Read Vampironica. Oh my gosh, read it. It starts off fantastically and I can’t wait to read the next issue.

The Verdict: 10/10


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