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Vampironica New Blood 4 Main

"Vampironica: New Blood #4" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Archie Comics

article-cover

Written by Frank Tieri & Michael Moreci
Illustrated by Audrey Mok & Joe Eisma
Colored by Matt Herms & Ryan Jampole
Lettered by Jack Morelli
2020, 30 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on April 15th, 2020

Review:

Veronica has had her mind blown repeatedly over the past few months. She's been turned into a vampire, went to another dimension where she fought werewolves, and now she's learning that she's part of a long and bloody lineage of vampires and that history is coming to haunt her. It's a lot to take in and she's bouncing from one dramatic revelation to the next.

This is where Vampironica: New Blood doesn't quite land. It very much feels like this mini-series is setting up whatever comes next for the character and this world, effectively changing the status quo to something that can be revisited down the line. This isn't to discount some of the awesome ideas put forth by writers Frank Tieri & Michael Moreci, however much of it comes through as exposition dumps instead of moving the story along.

This issue introduces the idea of an apex vampire with additional strength and powers. We spend a good chunk of time explaining what those abilities are, how they work, and what effect they can have, which takes away from the imminent danger of Sir Francis Lodge, who we only recently learned of and is suddenly here to attack Veronica. When the guy does show up, it has the same effect of a monster-of-the-week on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Here's a new villain that I have to beat up and the only difference is that this one sort of looks like my dad with an eye patch.

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Again, there are so many great ideas in this book and the series as a whole. It's just that they don't quite come together into a narrative. This can sometimes be saved by the artwork, but it's split between two artists, creating a jarring experience when we make the jump from Audrey Mok's work to that of Joe Eisma. Both are talented artists, but they have different styles, so the change is abrupt. It wouldn't have been that bad if it happened during a scene transition, but it pops up in the middle of the big fight.

Mok's artwork is very expressive, leaning into the teen drama of the Archie landscape. It plays up forbidden romance, petulant kids, and wide-eyed naiveté. This all happens with gorgeous color work from Matt Herms. The sun is setting in Riverdale, creating a fiery sky full of reds, oranges, and yellows. Later on, during the dance, there's an exploitation vibe, reminiscent of the classic (and unfortunately never finished) Afterlife with Archie, with blood reds and bright oranges. Ryan Jampole jumps in for renders for the second half of the issue, but the colors feel a bit too bright in this section, harkening back to the normal, vibrant world of Riverdale and not the horror one we're in here.

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Eisma's layouts for the big showdown between Veronica and Sir Francis really stand out, adding some additional excitement to the monster-on-monster action. Letterer Jack Morelli amplifies this with some bombastic font choices, creating some booming voices.

Vampironica: New Blood introduces some great concepts to this corner of the Archie Horror universe, but falls short on a cohesive story. Once the groundwork is finally finished, the series ends, leaving you hanging, but hopefully that comes with new stories down the line as there's quite a bit more to dig into with these characters.

Grades:

Story: twostars Cover
Buy from Amazon US
Cover
Buy from Amazon UK
Art: fourstars
Overall: 2.5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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