Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica #1 feels simultaneously like a strange mashup, and a no-brainer.
The characters seem to have little crossover appeal at first glance. However, the book draws on the recent popularity of Archie-verse titles on the Archie Horror imprint like The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Afterlife with Archie. Add to that other recent pairings like Harley and Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica, and it starts to make more sense.
With Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica #1, we see Sonja and Vampirella go undercover as new transfer students trying to fit in at Riverdale High. Meanwhile, the pair works alongside Betty and Veronica to crack a series of murders with supernatural overtones.
We’re told from the beginning that Vampirella’s old foes, the Cult of Chaos, are behind the killings. The mystery takes a backseat, though, to your standard “fish out of water in high school” story. Amy Chu’s writing is tongue-in-cheek, as one would expect with a story like this. Sonja is the self-serious stoic, while Vampirella is much more willing to play along with the high school dynamics.
On one hand, dialogue and interactions can feel stiff and uninspired at points. It also seems odd to see Sonja cast-off her “too cool for school” posture after developing an interest in football. Overall, though, Sonja and Vampirella have fun chemistry with one another and with Betty and Veronica. This constitutes the main appeal of Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica #1.
It’s a fun story that strikes a balance between supernatural detective story and high school slice-of-life. Chu manages to balance these two aspects well to be funny, without slipping too much into farce.
Readers can expect to see more of the horror element develop as the story progresses and introduces the Cult of Chaos in a more significant role. For now, though, this is a respectable introduction for a novel crossover.
Maria Sanapo provides solid artwork for Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica #1. Panels tend to be tightly-focused on our characters, meaning there is little in terms of background and setting. However, the lines flow smoothly from one panel to the next, and her character designs feel fairly animated.
One point that does fall a bit flat is in the expressions. There are points at which characters’ features feel lifeless, or strike the wrong tone for the moment. Though it’s not a consistent issue, certain panels can lack the intended impact due to mismatched expressions.
Vinicius Andrade provides heavy, shadowy tones for the first half of Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica #1. It’s a suitable choice, underscoring the more sinister tone of the larger story.
Readers will come away from Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica #1 getting exactly what they expect based on the title. If it sounds fun, then you’ll enjoy it.