In Review: Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica #4

A solid mystery and lots of fun when these four get together.

The covers: Twelve covers to get before the killer in Riverdale finds you! The A cover is by Fay Dalton has some neat perspective on it as Vampirella lefts up a beaker containing a bat before her face and it distorts her beauty. Behind her is Veronica in cheerleader gear looking like Adrienne Barbeau. I like the weird look of this cover. Robert Hack returns to the B cover doing the front of a VHS box featuring the movie version of this series. The four leads are shown from a vampire mouth’s point of view. I love the rewind sticker at the bottom. Ah, memories. The C cover by Laura Braga with colors by Bryan Valenza is just gorgeous. This is absolutely tee shirt, poster, and print worthy! The four characters are in a forest with outstanding shadows and light on them. Vampirella is on her knees in the foreground, Sonja behind her in her iconic clothes, Betty is next hiding behind the Hyrkanian, with Veronica bringing up the rear with a flashlight. This is awesome. However, the cover I had to purchase was the D by Dan Parent. This has the foursome in a convertible moving from the upper right to the lower left. Betty is driving sporting a scarf on her head and another around her neck. Vampirella is in the passenger seat in sunglasses, holding up her arms with a red slushie in her right hand. Behind Betty is Veronica taking a selfie, and Sonja is next to her holding her sword up in glee. This is fantastic. Cat Staggs does a super realistic E cover that has the Riverdale girls front and center running, surrounded by yellow energy at their feet. A head shot of Vampirella is on the left, with Sonja on the right. Behind them is a giant bat with its wings spread. All are on a burnt red background. This looks like a movie poster! The B&W Incentive by Parent is the same image as the D, minus the colors. I love this as well. Next is the B&W Incentive by Laura Braga which is the C without colors. Very cool, highly detailed, but I liked the colored version better. I’m sure that’s why there’s a “Virgin” Incentive cover by Braga and Valenza which is the C without text. This is beautiful. Also terrific is the “Virgin” Incentive by Parent, which is the D without text. I want this! Next up is the “Virgin” Incentive by Dalton. This is the A without any words and it’s freaky cool. There’s also a “Virgin” Incentive by Staggs that’s the E without text. This looks even more like a movie poster. The final cover is the FOC Incentive cover by Dalton, which has the text at the top in color, while the image is black and white. It’s okay, but looks better colored. Overall grades: A A, B A-, C A+, D A+, E A, B&W Incentive Parent A+, B&W Incentive Braga B, “Virgin” Incentive Braga A+, “Virgin” Incentive Parent A+, “Virgin” Incentive Dalton A-, “Virgin” Incentive Staggs A, and FOC Incentive C

The story: Four different characters are shown on the news giving their comments about a suspect being captured in the deaths that have been occurring in Riverdale. Detective Ben Park says the citizens can be safe, Irene Walsh brings up the work it took to get the killer, Reggie Mantle says he thought the suspect and her red headed friend looked weird, while Kevin Keller says, “Who would have suspected she had a great sense of fashion, though. Tragic.” My hat’s off to writer Amy Chu for starting seriously and then ending on a great laugh. A turn of the page and suspect Vampirella is in her cell with Betty, Veronica, and Red Sonja wondering how they’re going to get her out. Miss Lodge’s family lawyer appears with bail money and the supernatural heroine is released. I like the greeting she receives when she leaves the jail — HA! Sonja and Vampirella relax at the Lodge estate, Veronica learns something at the blood bank, and Betty unknowingly steps into danger covering an event. There’s solid tension, fun moments, and each character completely true to their past adventures. I like the character who puts on a brave face at the bottom of 18 and the individual on 19 who’s not going to suffer interruptions. The last page has a character return who’s bound to reveal some key information in the next installment. This book is just so much fun. Overall grade: A

The art: Three different artists are credited on this issue: Maria Laura Sanapo and Iván Silva with David Anton. Considering there are a trio of artists on this book, the style is consistent throughout. The first page has a neat layout of four similarly sized horizontal panels showing the news broadcast. Vampirella’s first appearance on the second page has her looking like a knockout in prison. I love that Betty is worried, while is Veronica is furious. Vampirella’s boots dominate every time she appears, with the final panel on Page 3 tilted to really show them off, and they again get the spotlight on the next page. The person who speaks first on 5 is great. And check out the panel underneath that perfectly captures each character’s personality in one image. Those awesome boots return in the Lodge estate as the two out of time characters try to relax. Veronica’s reaction at the bottom of 9 is an outstanding close-up. I love the stance Betty takes when she’s interviewing someone on the next page and the tease of an antagonist at the bottom of the page is perfect. The vehicle on 13 looks terrific. The tall panel on 15 is outstanding. I really like the tease of the group on 16 and how they are drawn in the third panel. I loved how Vampirella traveled in the third panel on the next page; she just can’t do that enough in any book! The large panel on 18 has Betty practically in the reader’s lap — very cool. On the last page the repetition of the first panel into the second is a very smooth visual transition. I like this art. Overall grade: A

The colors: Also well done are the colors by Mohan. I like the boxes that contain the text on the first page, looking very much like something one would see in a news broadcast. The coloring of the characters’ skin gives solid depth to each. Vampirella’s dark burgundy top gives her a sinister air compared to the other three leads. The outline of yellow around a character’s dialogue on 5 makes that utterance especially loud. The blues on 7 are great. The yellow on the vehicle draws the eye every time it appears. The event is in a dark space, but the lights that surround the group are wonderful in blue and violet. When the trouble begins these lights go out and everything goes a dead blue, creating darkness, yet allowing the reader to see all the art. Nice! I love the blue tint on the repeated image in the final panel of the issue. Mohan is killing this. Overall grade: A

The letters: Taylor Esposito creates signage, dialogue, broadcast text, yells, mechanical dialogue, sounds, whispered speech, and the three word tease for next issue. The signage and broadcast text looks as though it would be something found in the real world, giving this book an authentic feel. There are several different fonts and sizes used for the many yells, which shows what level each is at. There is a quick utterance from a mechanical device that’s done in italics to make it visually sound inhuman. The sounds at the end of the book are good, with the vehicle’s being perfect. The whispered speech is done for a frightened character and a weak individual. They work perfectly. Overall grade: A

The final line: A solid mystery and lots of fun when these four get together. Seriously, I don’t want this series to ever end. I love the writing and the visuals. Just a joy to read. Overall grade: A

To order a print copy go to https://www.dynamite.com/htmlfiles/viewProduct.html?PRO=C72513028082404011

To order a digital copy go to https://www.dynamite.com/digital/viewProduct.html?PRO=C72513028082404011=1

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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