Review - Jughead The Hunger vs. Vampironica #1 (@ArchieComics)

"After all I've been through lately...I'm going to enjoy this."

Veronica Lodge is a name that brings with a lot of baggage in the Archie universe as it's become synonymous with wealth and power. In Jughead The Hunger vs. Vampironica #1 from Archie Comics, both of those traits still play a big part of her life, but she's also dealing with being a vampire. The issue is written by Frank Tieri, illustrated by Pat and Tim Kennedy and Joe Eisma, colored by Matt Herms and lettered by Jack Morelli.

In the world of JUGHEAD THE HUNGER, there are no vampires, having been wiped out in their great war with the werewolves. In the VAMPIRONICA universe, the opposite is the case, as it was the vampires who were the victors. So what happens when these two eternal enemies are brought together again? Whatever it is, it can't be good for poor ol' Jug and Vampironica, you can count on that much...

Making Veronica a vampire and Jughead a werewolf was an interesting take for Archie Comics, but it affords Tieri a pretty wide berth when it comes to interpreting their newfound supernatural status. In this issue, Tieri spends most of the time setting up what is potentially a new threat, in that Vampironica gets top-billing with little mention of Jughead's alter-ego. The dialogue maintains the expected happy-go-lucky verbiage while Tieri still manages to inform the reader about the story to come. Tieri also breaks the issue up into what is essentially two parts: the first part focuses on the new threat and the second part focuses on Veronica learning more about her history and current plight. It stands to reason that the second issue will focus more on Jughead and his condition before bringing the two characters together for the match-up advertised in the series title.

The artwork duties are shared by a few artists, but--thankfully--their styles aren't so disparate that it's noticeable. Pat and Tim Kennedy handle the illustrations for the first half of the book and their approach is simple and clean, relying on the clean linework for focusing on folds in clothes and statuesque body poses. Eisma continues this in the back-half of the book, perhaps in a way that looks and feels slightly softer than the former's approach. The panels throughout the issue are arranged in a rather adventurous way, moving panels around for effect. Herms' colors are washed out and add a vintage filter to the artwork that grounds the present take on the characters in an older time.

Jughead The Hunger vs. Vampironica #1 is a pretty slow first issue that sets up a pretty big storyline. Veronica has always faced questions about her family's past, but those questions are going to be amplified as this series progresses. Tieri effortlessly blends the characters' personalities into a tale that certainly doesn't feel natural for them by any stretch. The artwork is pretty seamless throughout the issue so that the reader doesn't know there was an art team switch halfway through the issue. Jughead The Hunger vs. Vampironica #1 is a lot of fun (although it's a set-up issue) and will likely only get more chaotic as the series progresses.

Jughead The Hunger vs. Vampironica #1 is available now.