In Review: Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella & Jennifer Blood #2

Action, suspense, and a mystery create a dynamic read from Dynamite Comics.

The cover: In the foreground Jennifer has her pistol drawn to go after the reader. Behind her is Vampirella, looking anxious for blood to be spilt. In the background is a weeping angel leaning over a column. Bloody tears come out of the statue’s eyes, and the three cherubs with similar dripping eyes turn threateningly to join in the impending carnage. Did these heroes learn nothing from Doctor Who? I love the art by Billy Tan and the colors by Vinicius Andrade are strong. Andrade rightly left the background blank to draw the readers into the illustration. The work on the foliage is also strong. Overall grade: A

The story: Last issue the pair barely met, with Vampirella ripping out the throat of the killer Jennifer had been hunting. Both had to take off quickly when the police arrived on the scene, and Vampirella recounts this on the first page. Now she wonders what to do with herself on this world that’s not unlike her own. Jennifer recounts the same events from her point of view before considering new prey, since the last one is dead. Nancy A. Collins has crafted a fun read, but the leads are still circling each other’s paths without meeting. However there is a near miss that begins on Page 15, but it could be someone else, though it strongly points to Vampirella. The vampire is definitely seen on Pages 10 and 11, which ties her more strongly into the Swords of Sorrow saga, including teases of other major characters. The villains of the issue are a gang selling drugs called Los Caballeros. They’re a fearsome group by their actions and they live and die hard. The final two pages left me agape and has me thinking this vampire must be someone else. Overall grade: A

The art: Dave Acosta provides the illustrations for this issue. The majority of this book is set in reality, with Vampirella’s scenes providing the only glimpses of the fantastic. Acosta has got a strong eye for believable settings, starting with Vampy’s goal on 6. The locations where Los Caballeros go are good, starting with page 8 and the neighborhood on 12. The gang also has a really strong look, that I won’t spoil, but it falls under the “Why wasn’t that done long ago?” category. Their look makes them fierce on 7, 12, and 15. Vampirella looks good, especially in close-up such as on 11. Most of the book focuses on Jennifer and she looks amazing: Pages 13 – 18, with the double-paged splash on 16 and 17 excellent. This book looks good. Overall grade: A 

The colors: This is a dark book, not just because of its content but because it’s set primarily at night. Valentina Pinto does a slick job on creating the evening starting right on the first page, with some super work using faded violets for flashbacks. Usually flashbacks are tainted in yellow or orange, but by using violet Pinto maintains the night setting. I also like how colors were used for each lead character to denote whose thoughts were on the page. There’s a really good, though grotesque, job on an individual that’s been roughed up by two thugs on Page 8. This is followed by an explosively bright color for an intense action. Pinto’s got both barrels firing on this comic. Overall grade: A

The letters: Narration, opening title and credits, a newspaper headline, signage, dialogue, yells, and sounds are brought to life by Erica Schultz. All are outstanding, including an applaudable differentiation between narration and dialogue, but that sound in the first panel in 18 is the scene stealer. Overall grade: A

The final line: This makes me want to read Jennifer Blood’s earlier stories. Action, suspense, and a mystery create a dynamic read from Dynamite Comics. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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