Writers: Frank Tieri, Michael Moreci
Artist: Audrey Mok
Colorist: Matt Herms
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Editors: Alex Segura, Jamie L Rotante
Cover Artists: Audrey Mok, Laura Braga, Rebekah Isaacs, Greg Smallwood, Wilfredo Torres
Publisher: Archie Comics
The Archie Horror Universe has expanded thanks to last year’s Vampironica and Jughead: The Hunger, which introduced the concept of vampires and werewolves, respectively. A recent crossover brought these two worlds together when one-time vampire Veronica Lodge came face-to-face with the lycanthropic Jughead. The popular debutante also discovered haunting revelations about her own family’s dark past that definitely help to inform the future of the franchise.
This new series picks up immediately after the events of Jughead: The Hunger vs Vampironica with our titular hero back in her own world, shaken by her experience and seriously pissed off. The opening pages provide a brief summary of those events, before setting Veronica off to confront her parents, as well as a new vampire menace that has ties to another beloved member of the Archie Gang.
Much like the original series by Greg and Meg Smallwood, Vampironica: New Blood keeps the characters pretty well-grounded while managing to incorporate many of the off-the-wall, interdimensional craziness of the previous crossover. This balance is handled with precision by scribe Frank Tieri, co-creator of Jughead: The Hunger and writer of the aforementioned crossover. He and co-writer Michael Moreci have a great approach to the material and the development of our cast, particularly Veronica and her nerdy sidekick Dilton. The two have a charming yet awkward dynamic, and it’s a shame they aren’t paired together more often.
Even without the compelling story, the book is worth it for the art alone. Audrey Mok’s mild manga-esque style is perfect for this series and makes each page an absolute delight to look at. Matt Herm’s colors elevate the already excellent art and match the tone well. The lettering by Jack Morelli keeps the story going and adds a nice flourish to the sound effects. His work on the previous miniseries adds a nice level of continuity.
The only downside (and this is a common issue with a lot of comics nowadays) is that the previous series are pretty much required reading. A recap page may have been helpful, but there is enough exposition to hit the important notes without detracting from the ongoing narrative. Speaking of which, it’s clear that Tieri and Moreci have long-term plans for this section of the Archie-verse, and I strongly suggest getting caught up now. You won’t be disappointed!