The Archie Horror imprint has slowly been making its way through the popular monsters. Afterlife with Archie started it all off five years ago with zombies taking over Riverdale (I even wrote about it!), then came a wicked twist on Sabrina followed by Jughead going full werewolf. Last week brought the newest member: Vampironica.
There are story spoilers ahead but I don't think it would ruin anything for you. This first issue isn't exactly packed with plot twists.
The book opens with some vamps crashing a party being thrown by Cheryl Blossom (how dare they!). Hot on their heels is vampire Veronica Lodge who has the fashion of Buffy Summers and the vamp-ness of Marvel's Blade. Undead butt kicking ensues.
After the bad-assery, we flash back three days for some Riverdale teen drama which results in a scorned Veronica making Reggie take her out. As Veronica is leaving the house that night for her date, she finds her parents on the floor, victims of a vamp attack. The vamp attacks her and she manages to fight him off, but not before he's able to bite her.
She hops in a car and starts speeding away only to see the vamp in front of her. She floors it and over the car he goes! She glances back at her victory only to collide head-on (apply directly to the forehead!) with Reggie! After the crash, she goes to check on Reggie only to have the first symptoms of her new condition manifest itself.
She keeps her appetite in check and stumbles off into the woods where she notices her wounds from the accident are healing themselves. Back at the wreck, Reggie starts to come to as the vampire approaches.
And that's it. As a first issue, I was a tiny bit underwhelmed. I get it's an origin issue and things need to be setup but it just wasn't "there" for me. With Archie Horror's previous track record I have no doubt it will get more interesting as it goes on and we learn more about Mr Vampire Man.
Also, a lot of the fun of these horror books is seeing familiar characters in new, unreal situations so I'm really looking forward to see how Veronica comes to terms with being a vampire. You don't have to know the regular Archie-verse to read this but it will definitely help if you're somewhat familiar with the characters.
The artwork is on point. It's appropriately dark, bloody, and creepy where it needs to be. There are some alternate covers out there including my favorite one by Francesco Francavilla, who does the art for Afterlife with Archie. I dig this one because it reminds me of Vampirella.
Vampironica #1 gets 3.5 out of 5 wooden stakes
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