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2016 03 10 Vampirella 1

"Vampirella #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Dyanmite Entertainment

vampirella 1 00

Written by Kate Leth
Illustrated by Eman Casallos
Colored by Valentina Pinto
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 2nd, 201


There are some constants in comics that have been around for decades.  Uncle Ben will always be dead.  Superman gets hurt by Kryptonite.  Female characters tend to have skimpy and often times ridiculous costumes.  That last one has been knocked down a peg in recent years, despite the fact that the Internet seems to freak out every time an artist draws Wonder Woman wearing pants.  Vampirella was squarely in that camp forever.  She fought vampires and other assorted monsters wearing a string bikini and thigh-high boots.  While she's super strong and more than capable of taking care of herself, her outfit didn't really make sense given her line of work.  It would be like a lifeguard showing up to the pool wearing a snowsuit.  At long last, she's been given a redesign that fits her regular activities and it's one that looks pretty damn cool.

Although this is a relaunch of the Vampirella comic with a new #1 issue (along with Red Sonja and Dejah Thoris), this is not an origin story.  We're dropped right into the title character's world as she relocates to California with her werewolf boy toy Tristan and her manservant Coleridge.  Trouble seems to follow Vampirella though.  Instead of a housewarming party, she's attacked by a masked man that bursts into flames after she takes him down.  She gets enough from him to start tracking down a powerful vampire in the area that's stirring up trouble.

Click images to enlarge

The costume change is directly addressed in the book.  She starts out sporting her signature bikini, but decides to change into something more practical to deal with these new enemies.  I absolutely love this design.  The thigh high boots remain, but they're more like actual boots and not something a stripper would wear.  Instead of the bathing suit, Vampirella has a leotard that covers most of her arms and ends in short shorts.  The neckline is cut enough to show off some cleavage, but her boobs aren't hanging out.  Rounding out the ensemble is a belt with a few pouches, which is a great addition as she never had pockets before.  

I'm sure there are nay-sayers out there that will hate this new costume on principle.  “It's always been this way!”  “It's not how I remember it!”  Here's a news flash for you: Times change.  Vampirella is a strong, independent heroine that can throw down with the best monster hunters in fiction, but she was always drawn like a glorified pinup model.  I wonder if this has held the character back at all, like she couldn't be taken seriously when compared to the likes of something like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Click images to enlarge

This redesign doesn't change the fact that Vampirella is a sexual creature, as shown by how quickly she pushes Tristan into the bedroom on numerous occasions.  She owns it though.  Despite the fact that he's a werewolf, Tristan takes a back seat in this book.  He's little more than man meat for our heroine to use when she wants in between bouts with masked creatures where she always emerges victorious.  

Eman Casallos captures this in his artwork.  He brings a great assortment of emotion to Vampirella, from the sultry to the dominant to the aggressive.  There are some terrific large panels that showcase each of them.  Early on, when we get the first full look at Vampirella in her traditional costume, it's a panel that takes up most of the page, showing her from the knees up, and it's a drop-dead gorgeous image.  A few pages later, she stands over the limp body of her attacker, one foot on his chest and oozing badassery.  Later on, she throws off her coat to reveal the new costume as she jumps into action with a look of confidence and a bit of excitement.  

Click images to enlarge

The one thing that's odd with this issue is the vast amounts of white space.  There are many pages that almost seem like they're missing panels.  I can understand getting creative with the panel placement, but this just looks weird, almost as if the book wasn't quite finished.  This is inconsistent; however it happens enough that it's noticeable.  There are also several instances where there's no background at all, showing the characters in a white void.  That panel I mentioned above, with Vampirella tossing off her coat, happens in a dark alley, but you wouldn't know it as none of that is on display.  

This relaunch of Vampirella is off to a great start.  It requires no prior knowledge of the character to jump right in and enjoy.  Writer Kate Leth introduces an intriguing monster mystery while simultaneously bringing Vampirella into the 21st century.  This is a reboot I can get behind.


Story: fourandahalfstars Cover
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Art: threeandahalfstars
Overall: 4 Star Rating


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About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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