The original Vampironica was equal parts Vampirella and old-school Archie queen bee Veronica Lodge, but in Greg and Meg Smallwood’s newest reboot of the character, Riverdale’s teen vampire antihero is reimagined for the millennial age.
A vampiric Veronica Lodge crashing Cheryl Blossom’s pool party. Image: Greg Smallwood (Archie Comics)
In a post-Buffy the Vampire Slayer world, it’s almost impossible not to see high school as a fertile landscape to tell all kinds of stories about demons – both figurative and literal – haunting people already going through the hell of being a teenager. But where most comics about teens who either end up fighting or becoming demons spend a fair amount of time letting their heroes struggle to adjust and accept their new lives, Vampironica gets right to the truth of the matter: Veronica Lodge was born to be a bloodsucking demon and she’s a damn good one.
When Veronica Lodge discovers her father and mother were viciously murdered by a vampire one night (these things happen), she tries to flee her home, only to be snatched up by the throat and bitten by the creature who killed them. Refusing to go without a fight, Veronica grabs a nearby fountain pen and gores the vampire, giving her a chance to get into her car and drive to safety – or so she thinks – until the vampire materialises in front of her headlights.
But again, this is Veronica Lodge we’re talking about here. Indestructible vampire or not, she is not trying to die. So she runs the vamp over, cause she a badarse.
Veronica Lodge running over the vampire who bit her. Image: Greg Smallwood (Archie Comics)
Unfortunately for Veronica, her moment of badarsery abruptly ends as she crashes into Reggie, who was on his way to her house at her request, in a car collision that sends her careening through her windshield with Reggie passed out in his driver’s seat. As Veronica comes to and realises that her body’s quickly recovering from her would-be-fatal wounds, the vampire descends upon Reggie, which brings us to the present day.
Being a vampire suits Veronica in a way that feels almost unimaginably perfect when you consider who she’s always been as a character. Vampironica openly wears her viciousness on her face in a way that the human Veronica Lodge rarely did, but they are, at their core, the same person. Though she hungers for human blood, Vampironica doesn’t give in to her urges to feed on her friends; instead, she finds joy in doing battle with the new wave of vampires that are descending on Riverdale.
She’s equal parts Buffy, Faith and Angel and, fittingly, she’s the sort of character that the rest of Riverdale is almost immediately cool with. Out of all the transformations that Veronica Lodge has gone through during the 75 years she’s been a comics fixture, Vampironica feels like the one that’s most pushing the character into a future that’s ready to see her become something new: Someone who embraces her bloodthirst and uses it for the greater good.