Archie Comics brings back some of its more horrific stories with VAMPIRONICA #1. Created by Greg and Megan Smallwood, the story asks the hard-hitting questions fans have been asking all along: what would it be like if Veronica were a sexy vampire/vampire hunter? Fortunately for Archie fans everywhere, this comic promises the answers to that age-old question.

A Bitting Look into the Dramatic World of Vampires

The story starts off simply enough. Veronica tries to ask Archie out on a date but finds that he already has plans with Betty. Distraught, she agrees to go out with Reggie for the evening. However, her plans quickly fall apart when she finds the bodies of her parents lying in a pool of their own blood, bleeding profusely from their necks. As it turns out, a savage vampire has broken into the Lodge estate. In order to save herself and her town; Veronica must rise to the occasion and become the heroic vampire hunter she was born to be.

VAMPIRONICA #1
Courtesy of Archie Comics

Seeing how this is the first issue of a completely new title, it does a great job throwing the reader into the action. It relies heavily on the standard “Buffy the Vampire Slayer-esque” treatment to vampires, going so far as to have their designs closely resemble that iconic series. As such, the series manages a safe cultural jumping off point for new readers. While it does resemble this television show, it’s clear this series is its own thing. Fan favorites like Archie Andrews and Betty Cooper show up, but seem to oddly contrast the dark tone of the issue.

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VAMPIRONICA #1 Sucks Up Any Doubts that Archie Can’t Be Horrific

For readers tired of the usual teen drama of the Archie Comics main series, they’ll be pleased with this first issue. It’s a refreshing change from the usual love triangles and band practices and instead focusing on just a fun concept. That being said, Veronica herself has yet to really show off this new, exciting vampire personality. Since this issue is more focused on establishing the status quo, she appears more as the traditional Riverdale socialite fans of the comics have come to know and love. As a whole it’s doubtful VAMPIRONICA #1 will have any lasting impact on the franchise if the rest of the issues are as good as this one; it’ll forever be remembered fondly by the biggest ARCHIE fans.

VAMPIRONICA #1
Courtesy of Archie Comics

A lot is still unknown about these vampires. Who are they? Where did they come from? Why attack Veronica and her family? This issue does an amazing job raising these questions with the promise to hopefully answer them later in the series. In short, it feels like there are stakes, pun intended.

Style and Substance: A Beautiful Combination

Greg Smallwood does an amazing job making the comic feel like a cinematic experience. This is done by both having the characters appear more realistic than usual as well as incorporating unique panel layout. Instead of the classic rectangular blocks of varying sizes, Smallwood incorporates angled panels that help move the action along the page better. This small detail adds a level of dynamic movement that only aids the action sequences. The hyper-realism of the characters may seem jarring to some, yet ultimately it helps serve the cinematic aesthetic of the series. Though, sometimes the hyper-realistic style does come across as distracting. Some of the character expressions appear contorted, too similar to real humans. Therefore, it gives off this uncanny valley sense that I’m sure Greg Smallwood did not intend on. Aside from this minor complaint, the art and layout of the comic remains superb.

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Greg and Megan Smallwood revitalized a long-dead character to fit the style of modern teen horror series. With as promising a beginning as this, VAMPIRONICA #1 will leave fans aching for more. Let’s hope this great sibling team will continue delivering this amazing content! Get your copy on March 14th, 2018 from the Archie Comics website!

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