"Vampirella #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Nancy A. Collins
Illustrated by Patrick Berkenkotter
2014, 24 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 4th, 2014
When it comes to horror comics, there are some characters that stand out as icons. These include folks like the Cryptkeeper and Uncle Creepy. One of the few – if only – females on this list is Vampirella. Wearing nothing but a micro bikini with a collar and boots, she's been tearing up hearts for decades. Dynamite Entertainment has relaunched her comic with an all new #1 issue. Now Vampi is taking orders from a Monsignor, working for the church to investigate occult cases that pop up around the world. She's called in to look into the kidnapping of a young girl who was taken by her father, now calling himself Ethan Shroud.
Full disclosure: This is the first Vampirella comic I've read. I've been aware of her for some time but I never picked up one of her funny books. This new comic, written by Nancy A. Collins, jumps right into things and doesn't provide much in the way of backstory for the character. From what I've read online, this could be a good thing. She's been an alien from the planet Drakulon and the daughter of Lilith, among other things. That being said, I didn't feel lost or confused throughout the issue. It's pretty easy to pick up what's going on. Shroud is a villain from Vampirella's past, set on bringing forth the god Chaos to wreak havoc in the world and she's stopped him repeatedly.
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Collins sets in motion events that will disrupt Vampirella's current status quo. It's not enough to stop the bad guy here. She has to do that and still find a way to save herself and prevent the church from turning against her.
What I don't understand about Vampirella is the costume. I get that it's the same one she's had for ages, but it's not very practical, especially if she's jumping into battle. She's wearing the cloth equivalent of two postage stamps and a shoelace. And what's with the collar? She manages to have a collar without having a shirt. There's a dramatic panel where she drops her trench coat to reveal her outfit that seems a bit hokey. It's a total cheesecake shot. The teenage boy in me is happy with Patrick Berkenkotter's artwork.
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This relaunch was heralded with at least ten different covers by artists such as Terry Dodson (who knows a thing or two about drawing the female form), Arthur Adams, Jenny Frison and more. Frison's cover looks the most frightening, with the title character sitting in a pool of blood, delicately biting her forefinger with bats flying over her head in front of a full moon.
While the crux of the issue has already been spoiled by the advance solicitation promoting the book, Vampirella is off to a big new start with this relaunch. She's out on her own, working against a group of evil cultists and possibly the church itself to get out with her life. Vampirella belongs at the forefront of horror comics, and Nancy A. Collins could be the one to take her there.