Crossoverload: Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica Might be a License Too Far?

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RS and Vampi meet B and V 2

Crossovers are great. Intercompany crossovers are even greater, because they are more rare (or used to be). Superman and Spider-Man was an epic event. (Batman vs The Hulk was my favorite, although less memorable.)

But the characters who seem to have the lead in the intercompany crossover department has to be the gang from Riverdale High. Archie and his pals and gals have run into The Punisher, Predator, and Batman '66, and Betty and Veronica have had their run-ins with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. So good on them!

They keep the crossover spirit alive with this event at Dynamite Comics -- RED SONJA AND VAMPIRELLA MEET BETTY AND VERONICA. It's more than just a mouthful of a title, it's potentially a plot overload.

In this second issue, Vampirella of Drakulon and Red Sonja of Hyrkania have already made their way to modern-day Riverdale. They've been battling the mad god, Chaos, and their quest has brought them to Riverdale High, where they enroll as exchange students. Having missed the first issue, I can't explain how they got in or how Red Sonja ended up on the football team, but that's where we are -- and all four girls are in police custody, answering questions about a murder. However, the police are unwilling to accept their story about a cult of vampires for some reason (go figure!), so it's up to the girls to do their own investigation, all while our visitors maintain their cover as high school students.

Amy Chu has been handed a chore coming up with a storyline, and it tends to drag in places. We get the obvious male chauvinism from one of the male football players who gets his comeuppance from Sonja, and a number of generic boys who are useless at delivering information about the murder--and honestly, why would they have information in the first place if they didn't witness it? Additionally, the dialogue is forced in a number of places, where it is used to create backstory and world building. For instance, when all four girls go to Pop's, they spend a page ordering food. Now, I get that this is character-revealing--Veronica ordering salad because she's image conscious, Betty ordering burger, onion rings, shake, and cherry pie because she's a teenager, Vampirella ordering nothing, and Red Sonja ordering a mostly-raw steak (and being turned down for ale because she has no ID). But as Sonja is gnawing on her steak, Betty turns to Vampirella and asks, "What can you eat?" That's just a weird question, because it logically follows from a point that assumes neither Betty nor Veronica are capable of eating a steak, like Red Sonja must be from Bismoll. (That's -- oh, you know what, just Google it.) Vampi of course replies, "Blood," and we get backstory from exposition.

Now, a more natural conversation would have been if Betty had asked, "What do you eat?" After all, Vampi had just turned down all the options, perhaps she has a special diet (and, indeed, she does). It just seemed a very stilted and artificial way of talking just for the sake of leading into telling us how Vampirella and Red Sonja know each other.

And I'll start here to talk about the art. Go back and see what everyone ordered, then look at the table when you get the chance. Who ordered the chili dog? Seriously.

Okay, that's a nit, but try to make sure the pictures match the script. Other than that, artist Maria Sanapo does an exquisite job rendering figures and backgrounds. The only thing I really had a problem with regarding the art was that Vampirella and Veronica were not made more distinct from each other. Since Vampirella is out of her normal Drakulon attire, there were several panels where I could not tell which of them was to be represented--including panels where they both appeared together.

There are still some chapters to go, and the issue ends with a cliffhanger that tels the readers that Vampirella and Red Sonja aren't the only characters that may end up doing some dimension hopping. That's a decidedly juicy hook that serves to bring this reviewer back for another helping, despite my misgivings thus far.

And guys -- as long Dynamite and Archie are working out cross-licensing deals, how about a Vampirella / Vampironica crossover? Or perhaps into the AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE universe, if only so some of us can get some much-needed closure.

3.0 / 5.0