Vampirella is usually seen as a pin up, not a character. People forget that Frank Frazetta and Forest J Ackerman worked on her and that she’s seen decades’ worth of publication. Most couldn’t name one story with her in it, but they could pick her iconic image out of any alluring line up. This relaunch looks to put Vampirella into a modern story of intrigue and blood sucking that’s sure to fit right into the current vogue of vampire fiction.
The opening pages show our vampiric heroine patrolling the streets like some sort of hybrid between Batman and Blade. She’s helping the world become a better place, and even wearing clothes to make it happen. Instead of the usual visual we think of, this lady has a stylish, and swirling, trench coat and actual pants, not to mention a shirt as well. She looks like a person who might actually walk the streets, at least in a comic.
I don’t understand why Dynamite have published this comic with the cover it has, where Vampirella is barely wearing anything, when it’s quite the opposite on the interior pages. The cover is selling to the old school fan of those Frazetta glory days. But the tale, and art, are much more modern. This comic feels like it has been made to suit the True Blood fan who is looking out for something more. This isn’t a sexist comic. Far from it, it seems well steeped in girl power. I think this title will have an uphill battle satisfying either audience until it decides to focus on just one.
We are eventually led into a ‘biter club’ where the vampires congregate and Vampirella will surely exact some old school vengeance. There are action scenes ending in stakes through the heart and plenty of good looking vamp girls to take some screen time up. It’s got all of the things we love about easy vampire fiction, the flippant Buffy styles mixed with the history of True Blood and yet it manages to avoid the teen angst of Twilight. Still, it does feel like a product of all that has come before it. And it just doesn’t manage to quite transcend it.
The bonus story from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale is from 1999 but is a perfect fit for this relaunch. It’s an overwritten tale of Vampirella’s seductive ways, but it fits the subject matter completely. It’s a fun little romp, like a Halloween extra that doesn’t have to mean more than you want it to.
This is an interesting relaunch and I hope one to look out for. It needs to decide exactly what type of comic it wants to be and then push in that direction hard. It feels like the next step for those who have enjoyed the four color exploits of Sookie Stackhouse. This has one very cool leading lady, a history of vampires for her to fight against, and if the reveal at the end is anything to go by, an interesting villainess to face off against.