(w) Amy Chu (A) Maria Sanapo (c) Vinicius Andrade
As a comics reader, I’ve dabbled in the occassonal Red Sonja and Vampirella issue, but never really sunk my teeth in into their extensive histories. I actually started reading Red Sonja when Amy Chu wrote her a few years back, so when I saw Chu was taking another stab at her in this crossover with Vampirella and Archie Comic’s Betty & Veronica, I just had to pick up this ambitious crossover. Apparently, Red Sonja playing football for Riverdale High School was something I never knew I needed in my life.
As the issue begins, readers are immediately thrown into another gruesome murder at Riverdale High while Red Sonja and Vampirella are onlooking in the nearby hills. Chu offers no cause or explanation they are in the Archie Universe, and nothing in the first issue calls this out, but hopefully there is an explanation in the coming issues. Perhaps it has something to do with them chasing The Cult of Chaos – an enemy of Vampirella. Having met the curious local high schoolers Betty and Veronica, the Dynamite duo consider their best option is to team up with the Archie duo. Betty and Veronica don’t seem much fazed by a half naked vampire and half naked warrior, which seems off. Maybe they have seen too much other weirdness in this universe, or they just don’t care. Writer Amy Chu’s script mostly goes down the route of, “it’s a comic” and whatever goes without any need for information.
Chu’s writing is good, albeit nothing extraordinary. With that said, she has a great grasp on how each character should react to their surroundings (save for the aforementioned costuming). As a first issue, it doesn’t try to bog you down with content to explain all the circumstances revolving all of our characters. Chu gives us an introductory issue that says hey there’s supernatural murder happening at Riverdale High and somehow Red Sonja and Vampirella are there! Other than a few fun moments playing up how out of place Red Sonja and Vampirella are, the plot doesn’t advance much. The issue ends on tried-and-true cliffhanger with more death taking place at the high school. By the end, it feels like the plot was thrown to the back with the focus shifting more towards the absurdity of the quartet meeting each other. Hopefully, the mystery aspect picks up in the following issues. The crossover’s concept is a good one, but the execution shows room for improvement.
Maria Sanapo’s art leans heavily on the realistic side rather than on fantasy. This would have worked perfectly if the murder mystery plot was played out more than the comic legends meet aspect. In some panels, the art is lifelike and helps the comic feel more alive, but then there are some close ups of characters faces that just seem… off. That’s mostly because in a few spots it looks as if they just smelt a dead animal or shit themselves. But other than the few instances where this happens, Sanapo’s art is fine on its own. If the upcoming issues lean more heavy on plot and character development, her art would benefit quite well. But for now, it appears that there is a tonal mismatch between her art and Chu’s script. The colors by Vinicius Andrade work well with the art provided. No panel seemed overdone, or underdone, with the shadows not taking over and the lighting shining as it should. While giving dimensions to the art Andrade was able to keep the coloring realistic that bodes perfectly with Sanapo’s art.
For how excited I had become for this series the first issue was a letdown relaying more on the crossover angle and less on the why, how, and murder mystery plot. At the end of the issue if it had focused on all the girls making their own football team I think I would’ve enjoyed it immensely more and would go into the next issue with more enthusiasm.
Memorable Quote: “Oh Betty, they’re from Europe. Everyone looks more mature over there.” – Veronica.
Extra: I think this issue may have my favorite selection of variant covers I’ve ever seen. I would love to buy them all!