Jughead is having terrible dreams of vampiric versions of his friends. Good thing vampires definitely don’t exist, right?
Just as last issue focused pretty much exclusively on the version of Veronica and the gang from the first Vampironica miniseries, this one follows the Hunger universe. Something is happening to draw the two universes together, but the majority of the issue is spent catching us up on the state of affairs for Were-Jughead and his friends, as well as giving us a crash course on the mythology of this world.
I love the use of Betty as both the Giles and the Buffy of the Hunger universe’s Archie gang. She has the badass fighting skills of a true monster hunter, as well as the encyclopedic knowledge it takes to get the job done. This results in a neat history lesson that felt like something out of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic series. It is fun to see her being so completely unprepared for a universal crossover like this, though. It challenges everything she knows and she doesn’t care for that one bit.
I also enjoy the fact that people kind of roll with how bizarre Riverdale is. It’s one of the things I quite liked about the first issue of Red Sonja & Vampirella Meet Betty & Veronica. Even in the original Archie universe, there were Time Police and superheroes running around. Archie has met Batman and survived a Sharknado. In these supposedly more heightened universes, it’s always fun to see that people just accept Riverdale as this sort of hub for the world’s weirdness.
There’s a definite tongue-in-cheek factor to it all that helps to balance out the grosser aspects of this story, in particular. For the most part, the characters still act true to their classic counterparts, which helps to soften the moments where we see, as Pop puts it in this issue, “Betty packing heat.”
On the downside, this results in quite a bit of the present day action of the book taking place in an empty diner, the wacky flashbacks being the only real thing to break up the monotony. I felt much the same way last month, but for a book called Jughead: The Hunger vs. Vampironica, there sure doesn’t seem to be much of a battle between the two happening. In fact, we’re two issues in and the two title characters have yet to share a page together, dream sequences notwithstanding.
Still, this issue has finally brought the vampiric rich girl fully into the werewolf-fearing Riverdale of The Hunger. Here’s hoping that next month’s issue may indeed follow through on the promise of the book’s title.