Script: Greg and Megan Smallwood
Art: Greg Smallwood, Jack Morelli
Cover: Greg Smallwood
Variant Covers: Francesco Francavilla, Audrey Mok, Djibril Morrissette-Phan, Marguerite Sauvage
NEW ONGOING SERIES! 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 bloodlust.
Resident Riverdale rich-bitch Veronica Lodge gets the full comic book makeover in her breakout series Vamperonica. The sibling creative team of Greg and Meg Smallwood kick us into the latest Archie Horror story with a goretastic first issue.
In genre correct teen slasher story style, we open on a teenage drinking party at the beautiful Pembrooke Estates where the slightly slutty Cheryl Blossom is offering herself to the alcohol gods via body shots. The naughtiness is interrupted by a downright savage vampire looking to make a smoothie out of Cheryl’s blossoms. The buffet is closed by the entrance of Veronica, brandishing a wooden stake and a very convincing Buffy the Vampire Slayer impression (while also being a vampire). This quick hitting action scene is very much like the opening minutes of a BTVS episode, where the tone is immediately set. There are vampires, they want to kill teenagers, and there is a butt-kicking hero there to stop them. This stake is driven home (pun intended) by Greg Smallwood’s stark visuals, utilizing heavy color contrasts to create emotional settings. It’s a quick opening scene, but you instantly know exactly the world you’ve entered into.
Now we enter a flashback. After all, we need to know HOW Veronica ended up in her undead state. I will say the book slows down here, but I didn’t mind. We get to reintroduced to the classic Riverdale gang and reestablish the familiar relationships. Betty and Veronica are still fighting over Archie, while Reggie is making his play for Veronica. I truly liked how the tone and feel of the book shifted in these pages. The dark gritty feel was replaced with the “Leave it to Beaver” environment of classic Riverdale. Of course, that doesn’t last. Getting ready for her date with Reggie we see the true origin story of Vampironica, and the return of Greg Smallwood’s visceral style, as Mr.&Mrs. Lodge are drained of blood and found by their only daughter. Veronica screams at the death of her parents but is quickly set upon by an elder vampire who takes a bite out her. The vampiric transformation happens in minutes for Veronica, and that is pretty much where the first issue ends.
I have to admit that I’m a full fan of the Archie Horror books. While I fully hate the CW’s Riverdale, I have enjoyed the comics putting a new spin on these classic characters. Greg and Meg Smallwood defiantly have a plan for Vampironica, and they have only begun to pull back the curtain. I closed the pages on this first issue wanting more, and I have a feeling I’m going to get it.