Scarlet Veronica Review
- Published on Monday, 18 October 2010 19:55
- Written by Andrenn
Hey there kiddies, enjoying that big bowl of cereal? Remember those days of youth when you would sit in front of a TV with a bowl of Count Chocula while watching super heroes beat the crap out of villains and all of the other types of cartoons on TV? Well, one thing I loved about cartoons were the Halloween specials! Good old fashioned Spooktaculars where Horror was fun! A fun little series came out a few years ago by the name of Scarlet Veronica. I reviewed it forever and a half ago, back when I was a fledgling fear inducer. Now I'm top Reaper and it's time to pay my respects to a great little series that deserves some of the spotlight.
Writer: Robert Barry, Joe Shaw and Jason Moody
Artist: Jason Moody
Story Rating: 8 Zombie Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Zombie Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Zombie Girls out of 10
Opening Comments: There is a lot to love about Scarlet Veronica. Fun characters, great action and lots of nuggets for horror fans like me. It is fun horror at its best and it is a blast to read every time. There are faults to Scarlet Veronica, but they are far and few between. This is a fun read that indulges in its love of zombies and monsters and I love it for that.
Story Rating: I am reviewing all four issues in one go, so I will not be touching on every big plot element or character. Even for only four issues that would take a while. Consider this more like a collection style review in that sense. Besides, this is a story I would hate to spoil with how much fun it is to read yourself. Spoiling it just would not be fair.
The story of Scarlet Veronica has many ideas, we have got zombies, Ancient Egyptian spirits, the grim reaper and a Purple Frankenstien Monster. The insanity never lets up and this series has a lot of charm in how crazy it gets. There are no rules for how wild the monsters can get and a lot of the fun is seeing what crazy thing will happen next.
I do have to mention those “nuggets” for horror fans. To put it simply, there are a ton of them. Ramiesville? Like Director Sam Raimi of the Evil Dead trilogy. Romero high? Like George A. Romero, father of the zombie genre. The teacher, Mr. Campbell? Has Bruce Campbell's chin and says “groovy” of all things. Burton cemetery? The list goes on and on.
There are a lot of horror references here and as a horror nut I eat them up and love it. There are actually a few I did not even notice the first time when reading through this. Some that caught me off guard and upon my reread were a treat to discover. There are more obvious references from the characters talking, but the more hidden and clever references are more fun.
The only problem with referring to a lot of horror classics is that not everyone will get it. There are people who do not know about Night of the Living Dead or Evil Dead, so referencing them will catch them off guard and they will wonder what the comic is talking about. There is a jab at Uwe Boll of all people and sadly many people probably do not know who he is either.
Still, I do not think you will be too left in the dark if you are not big on horror. These are just little references and nods to the horror genre. There are some blunt moments, but it is not too bad. I still enjoyed the hell out of them personally.
I will admit issue #1 had me a little worried. The beginning of this series feels very generic, like your typical high school story. New girl in town, bitch cheerleaders, jerk jocks, etc. It feels very plain at first, but trust me when I say that by the end of the first issue the dynamic has a massive change and it really gets you excited for more.
The high school dynamic sort of just evaporates shortly after that. We get to the real meat of the story and it is a ton of fun to say the least. Veronica is a great character to follow, especially when she is in her undead form. Veronica is a fun wise-cracking hero and she is always interesting to follow. The writers succeeded in crafting a fun main hero to follow.
The cast is great, I do not want to get too in depth and lead to spoilers, but everyone from our nerdy side-kick to the grim reaper himself add a lot to the story. My personal favorite has to be Mr. Death. He has got such a dry sense of humor and it is so much fun to see him interact with others. He never loses that “I'm death itself” aura even when talking to teenagers and trying to save the world.
The monsters are all very cool. Mostly we get zombies but we're far from limited to just the walking dead. We get what appears to be a big flying dog demon, the Sho'Mavet and did I mention the purple frankenstien monster? Yeah, we get a grape ape reference in that one. It's that awesome.
The story revolves around Veronica and her new powers but it never feels either too empty or too crowded. It has a great balance of characters and how they affect the story and its a ton of fun for that. Every character has a purpose and is fun to read about in some way and every character brings something special to the story.
The action is a ton of fun as well. Of course you get to cut loose with zombies and all that but throwing in super powered girl and that just gets awesome. Its tons of fun watching Veronica kick undead ass and some of the best highlights for story and art are during the action scenes. Its easy to botch an action scene in a horror setting but here the action is great.
I will not spoil the ending, but I do have a problem with it. Two characters seem to get killed off. They are two great characters that I really enjoyed. Again, they are seemingly dead. In a world with the grim reaper walking around, zombies, Egyptian books of the dead, etc. I know death cannot be the biggest problem here, but still if they are dead then that is a big loss for two great characters that I really liked.
Their deaths also just sort of happen and are tossed aside. We never get a grieving moment for them or any mention after they die. Maybe it is some sign they are not dead, I really cannot tell at this point, but either way it is one of the bigger flaws in the story.
There are other flaws, some of the dialogue is a little clunky from time to time. But, it is fairly small stuff. Nothing that ever got in the way of me enjoying Scarlet Veronica. The flaws are small and do not make me enjoy this any less. Yes, there are some silly points here and there, but they never detract from the story.
I can see why someone may not like the sillier bits here and there, but to me they add a lot. This is supposed to be fun horror after all. Remember fun horror? Staying up late on a Halloween night watching Nickelodeon Halloween specials?
Actually, that is the perfect comparison I can bring up for this. Scarlet Veronica feels like those classic cartoon Halloween specials. Back when cartoons actually celebrated the seasons and we would get to see the Angry Beavers fight giant brains and all other kinds of horror oriented fun on our TV screen. That is the exact feeling I get from Scarlet Veronica.
While there is some blood here and there, as a whole Scarlet Veronica is fairly kid friendly. There is no cursing or nudity. It is a lot like a Halloween special dealing with horrific monsters from our nightmares, but doing so in a fun way that all ages can enjoy. Add that to the very animated art style and you have got a great experience.
I love horror for this very reason, the multiple genres it spans. You have got the dark violent cruel horror, you have got creepy and moody horror, you have got fun and crazy horror. Horror spans so many genres and ideas. Horror can mold itself in with just about anything, from kids cartoons to serious and dark stories.
Scarlet Veronica is a reminder that all horror is not as horrifying as you would think. Sometimes horror is fun and crazy and does not need to make sense. Is it insane? Yes, but that insanity is exactly why it is so much fun. You have got zombies dressed up as Santa, for crying out loud! It makes no sense when you look at it, but when you think of the context, it makes perfect sense.
It is not the most mature and dark horror out there. It goes for the fun and crazy side of horror and it does not care if you do not like it. It indulges in what it is and is proud of itself. It is tons of fun from start to finish. My only real major complaint for it at this rate is if you do not like fun horror then you will not like this.
It is fun horror at its best. It is a call back to the days of cartoon horror, when Bugs Bunny met an old witch and when the mascots of our childhood would just happen to run into a vampire or a zombie on Halloween of all nights.
Art Comments: Moody's art style is as fun as the story is. It is very animated and energetic which makes this title fun to look at. Moody uses thick lines which add to the animated feel of it. As I said, he really handles action well and draws some great kick ass stuff.
The only complaint I have is the anime faces that Moody uses. For me, it was not too bad but it was kind of odd. It only really happens early on in the story. It does not ruin the art, but it was odd to say the least. It stuck out like a sore thumb.
Moody delivers some dynamic and strong artwork. It is not the most detailed and there are some blemishes every once in a while but it is still strong stuff. The energy is there and you feel a lot of excitement went into this art.
Final Comments: If you cannot take the fun in horror then Scarlet Veronica is not for you. But, for everyone else who ever loved those Halloween cartoon specials then definitely give Scarlet Veronica a chance. The good outweighs what little bad there is and makes for a memorable and incredibly fun read. I highly recommend Scarlet Veronica.