"Vampironica #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Archie Comics
Written by Greg Smallwood & Meg Smallwood
Illustrated by Greg Smallwood
Lettered by Jack Morelli
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 30th, 2018
Veronica is having a bad night. It was bad enough that Archie passed her up to go out with Betty instead, forcing her to settle for Reggie. Then her and her parents were attacked by a vampire and she woke up with a thirst for blood. She has a lot of questions and no answers. Fortunately, Dilton Doiley is a great problem solver. Riverdale High’s smartest student comes to her aid.
I said it in my review for Vampironica #1, but it bears repeating: Greg Smallwood’s artwork is incredible. It has a timeless quality to it, making it look like it’s both of the present day and a bygone era. This works well with the characters and the setting.
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There’s also an innocence to Smallwood’s characters, which makes the horrifying things they’re about to face all the more frightening. This is especially true with Veronica as she grapples with the changes she’s going through. She looks so lonely and afraid at the beginning of this issue, then when Dilton finds her, she flashes these red eyes with fangs bared. It’s a beautiful contrast.
This feeling reaches its peak during Veronica’s dreams where she is transformed into a hideous monster while the severed heads of her friends throw insults at her. It’s a supernatural body shaming. Although Veronica is sporting claws and jagged teeth, there’s a frightened look in her eyes.
Dilton is super helpful both to Veronica and the reader. Since he’s incredibly book smart, he’s able to quickly look up the ins and outs of vampirism and drop some knowledge on us. This can get a little wordy, but he does outline the situation well. It also gives Veronica some hope of salvation. She still has a chance to make it out of this.
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This is where writers Greg and Meg Smallwood set the rules of this universe. While it’s sort of a history lesson, it is very valuable, as we know what we’re dealing with now. Monster stories can live or die based on the rules they abide by. Is Veronica the kind of vampire that can turn into a bat? Can she fly? Is she harmed by garlic? Lining this information up will be helpful for the rest of the series.
While Veronica’s life has been turned upside down and she’s gone through a hellish night full of traumatic events, she still manages to put a smile on her face. This innocence and bravery makes us invested in her as a character. We want to see her succeed.
Vampironica builds on the success of other Archie Horror titles like Sabrina and Afterlife with Archie. It takes characters we’ve known and loved for decades and puts them in dire circumstances that can chill you to the bone. I honestly wish more publishers took chances like this, as it’s resulting in some top tier horror comics. You may know Veronica from Riverdale on The CW, but you’ve never seen her like this.