Monday, February 26, 2018

Review - Vampironica #1 (@ArchieComics)


"...this will all be over soon."

Vampires are eternal, both in life and popular culture. So of course it makes sense that they would invade Riverdale in Vampironica #1 from Archie Comics. The issue is written by Greg Smallwood and Meg Smallwood, illustrated by Greg Smallwood and lettered by Jack Morelli.

When Veronica is bitten by a centuries-old vampire, her thirst for blood threatens to turn Riverdale into a haven for the undead. Will she put an end to the vampire threat or give in to her blood lust?

Archie Comics is on a tear lately finding inventive ways to breathe new life into old characters and the Smallwoods are making sure that trend continues in Vampironica #1. And while the issue plays out (for the most part) like other Archie books, the Smallwoods quickly veer off-course by introducing vampires. The Archie characters have always thrived on maintaining a seemingly normal life despite what can only be described as zany circumstances around them and the Smallwoods really lean into this fact. The dialogue maintains the quick exchanges between characters that relies on the familiarity shared by them, giving the issue a sense of the known. And the issue is paced very well, as by the end the Smallwoods have offered plenty of motivation for Veronica in her newfound thirst for blood.

Greg Smallwood does a great job with the artwork in offering a modern take on nostalgic characters. The entire book has a slight pall cast over it that fits well with the tone of the book as one rife with vampires. Greg Smallwood doesn't let the book devolve completely into gore as well, especially considering the lack of inhibition on the part of the vampires themselves. The linework is somewhat loose, but Greg Smallwood does a remarkable job of infusing the characters with an abundance of emotion and facial expression. The panels are all laid out amidst empty gutters somewhat haphazardly, but the flow of the story is still maintained well. The colors are washed out in a way that both artificially ages the renderings while also rooting it in the past.

Much like Jughead: The Hunger, Vampironica #1 is a lot of fun. Veronica has always been the preppy student with a propensity of getting her way and by making her a vampire she's definitely gotten a lot more interesting. The Smallwoods have penned a script that flows pretty well and is paced briskly. The artwork by Greg Smallwood is a great fit for the work, both matching the grit of the vampires and the atmosphere of Archie Comics in general. Vampironica #1 is very entertaining and looks to be very well thought-out.

Vampironica #1 is available March 14.

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