This week Veronica becomes a vampire, and Wizord’s troubles come to a head in Curse Words!
Vampironica #1 (Archie Comics)
At long last, Veronica Lodge gets the chance to shine in an Archie Horror book. After being on the sidelines of Afterlife With Archie and Jughead The Hunger, the raven-haired heiress gets to take the stage in Vampironica, the latest in Archie’s line of horror-themed series. Written by Megan and Greg Smallwood and drawn by Greg Smallwood, Vampironica‘s opening issue is a lot bloodier and impressive than the goofy title would suggest, and hints at another breakout hit for the publisher.
Following a regular day at school, Veronica Lodge is waiting at home for Reggie to come pick her up for a date. Jealous of Betty for being Archie’s choice for a date that night, Veronica is moping about, until she hears a crash and a scream from a nearby room. When she investigates, she finds her mother and father dead on the floor, and a mysterious man with them, who quickly attacks Veronica and bites her on the neck. After making a daring escape, Veronica accidentally kills Reggie in a car crash, which should’ve easily killed her as well. Just who, or what, was that man who attacked her?
You won’t get an answer to that question just yet, and honestly, that’s the only knock I can give Greg and Megan Smallwood’s script. It’s very short, but that allows for the mystery of this series to grow and settle in. We have no knowledge of why the vampire that attacked Veronica was in the Lodge’s mansion, nor what his connection is to the family. In a lot of ways, we’re in the same boat that Veronica is in, which is an intriguing way to bring readers back for the next issue.
While the mystery might bring people back in, one thing that will definitely do the trick is Greg Smallwood’s artwork, which, if I’m being honest, is THE reason to buy this book. While the script is certainly well done, Smallwood’s art is perfectly suited for this type of book. Seeped in the same kind of mood as Jughead The Hunger and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Smallwood’s art evokes the kind of Grindhouse-level thrills you’d expect from this kind of book, with the opening pages definitely hinting at some awesome things to come with this series.
If you’re a fan of the Archie Horror line of books, you’ll be happy to hear that this series is of the same quality as the others. While it remains to be seen if this series will suffer the same delays as the other books in the line, for now Vampironica is a great example of why Archie Comics has become one of the most surprisingly innovative publishers on the stands. It serves as a great comic for both older Archie fans and horror fans, and is a great gateway into both worlds.
Curse Words #12 (Image Comics)
Wizord’s battles with the enemies from his former world come to a head in Curse Words #12. The latest madcap issue from Charles Soule and Ryan Browne is chock full of the absurd antics you’ve come to expect from the series, and it’s still one of the best (and strangest), comics on the stands because of that.
Now that his ex-girlfriend Ruby Stitch has her magic back, the battle is on between the two former lovers. As Wizord desperately tries to fend off Ruby’s attack, we also touch base with Margaret, his sidekick who used to be a Koala but is now a Platypus, and is currently kidnapped by a group of crazy magic cultists who want to know the secrets of Wizord’s home dimension. But the main crux of the issue’s story is Wizord and Ruby Stitch’s battle, which definitely goes to some places that I did not think it would.
It’s damn near impossible to conceive just how Charles Soule is able to write as many comics as he does, but amazingly, where many writers have a title that will suffer due to a writer’s workload, Soule is able to avoid that curse. In fact, he’s able to keep everything not only consistent, but also unique as well. Curse Words is so different from his other work that you could honestly mistake it for a different writer. Soule is able to keep finding new and hilarious ways to bring the absurd world of Wizord crashing into the our “real” world and still make it entertaining. The jokes in Curse Words could’ve gotten stale 10 issues ago, but somehow they’re still fresh.
Adding to those jokes is Ryan Browne’s art, which is filled with not only hilarious visual gags but also tremendous panel layouts too. Browne’s style is extremely unique and practically jumps off the page to bring to life some really memorable moments. Soule’s solid scripts provide a great foundation, but it’s Browne’s art that really makes the book stand out from other books on the shelves.
If you still haven’t gotten on board the Curse Words train, the first trade is available right now, and the second volume (which features this issue) will be out real soon. If you’re looking for something different to mix up your comic book reading diet, there’s no better book than this one.