We all love a good crossover, but these books are always ones which you take a risk on. For me, it takes a strong level of interest to see what’s up with one, and stick with it. The Hunger vs. Vampironica is the first one from Archie for me, and more importantly Archie Horror. On one hand I read Vampironica, but on the other hand, Jughead: The Hunger was new to me. All I knew was that I needed to find ease in Jughead’s world, while at the same time understand just what the heck is going on with Vampironica’s that her story is not done.
For the most part, we got our introductions and answers. However, there was the looming question of why this is all happening. Why are vampire suddenly existing once more in Jughead’s world? Why is this version of Veronica among those vampires? Not to mention who is behind all of this madness? It would be too easy to assume a vampire, so it had to be someone big orchestrating this. This third issue was all about getting us to that point, though the first thing that needed to happen was what we all come to expect from most crossovers. This wouldn’t be a “vs.” book if there wasn’t some sort of confrontation between both worlds. What I mean by this is characters crossing into someone else’s world, fighting over differences, and then setting things aside to fight the bigger bad. That much tends to follow the standard formula, though everything else after that comes down to the execution.
Knowing Vampironica, and then getting to know this other Betty, Archie and company, it wasn’t hard to see why they would start off with a clash. A vampire working with hunters? That is a recipe for disaster! Now the only problem I found with this was the way Veronica and Betty were written. I personally don’t think that she’s been a vampire that long that she could have the kind of experience in action that they want her to. Having the abilities of a vampire does tend to make you better than most off the bat, but still, in the case of Veronica it’s a tough sell to turn her into this hero springing into action. Now since I’m new to this Betty, it was hard to say whether or not this was her, and yet in this moment it was distracting to have her so confrontational with someone who was clearly trying to help. Understandably being a hunter makes you hate most supernaturals, but this didn’t seem like that situation where you wanted to add one more enemy to the rising army of vampires being transported to this world.
The highlight of this issue was definitively the very end when we cross paths with the one person who could make sense of this situation for everyone. It was not at all who you would have expected, and yet it was also someone in the Archie Universe who has the kind of power to explain it all.
This third issue gave us our first real taste of action in this story, and this art team handled it very well. Nothing too standout, but It was appealing for how they captured the madness of all these vampires running around and outnumbering our heroes. Normally some pencilers would lose detail with more objects sharing the same panel or page, but this art team did not let up in giving you a consistency in quality all the way through. Some things did get a bit shaky when it came to Jughead’s werewolf form and what not, but I would chalk that up to matters of perspective. When that wasn’t a problem, the form and outline for most of the interior work was satisfying. As for the colors, they continued to pop out at you for the distinct style that tends to be used or these horror books. Red/black backgrounds, blue overlays for night, random blood spatters spread across the pages. It’s unique to these stories, and it works.
Jughead: The Hunger vs. Vampironica #3 was exactly what you come to expect for the second or third chapter of a crossover story. As I said above, they encounter each other, they have a problem with each other, and then they find common ground through the main villain. We haven’t gotten to that last part yet, so the next step is this surprise appearance at the end adding the context we have anticipated getting full clarity into this plot.