In Review: Vampirella #4

This vampire vixen's tales continue to thrill.

The covers: The talented Terry Dodson has our heroine on her knees in a seaside temple, looking seductive. In the pool before her is no reflection of this vivacious vampire, but a snake-like silhouette that foreshadows what this story will bring. Nicely done, but I wanted the picture to be closer on Vampirella. The Variant A cover is by Jenny Frison showing our title star sleeping on a rose colored floor with several brilliantly shaded emerald snakes about her. There are so many of the reptiles their heads can’t be seen and the floor is barely visible. She looks beautiful and the snakes, and the quantity of them, elicit the right amount of “UGH!” into anyone’s spine. The Subscription cover is by Stephaine Buscema with the vampire holding a candelabra with bloody hands against a twisted, psychedelic spiral of green and violet as bats fly about. Absolutely fabulous. Buscema is a treasure! Overall grades: Main A-, Variant A, and Subscription A+

The story: “Somewhere off the coast of Greece” a lonely man is going to go sightseeing in the wrong place. Vampirella is in Greece to kill an ancient vampire, to drink its blood, and, hopefully, lift the curse that’s changing her into a vessel for the evil Umbra. This installment, titled “Lamia,” by Nancy A. Collins has the right amount of humor and horror. Page 5 has the best uninterested pick up rejection I’ve ever seen. The backstory to the creature Vampirella seeks is cool and icky. The return of a character on 10 is great and I wasn’t surprised, but pleased, at his inclusion in the caper. There’s a solid twist on 19 that had me reacting like the protagonists. The final page is a sweet resolution with a promise of things to come, one day. A sharp installment that fits into the larger arc, yet allows easy accessibility to new readers. This is how comics should be written. Overall grade: A

The art: Solid work on every page from penciller Patrick Bekenkotter and inker Dennis Crisostomo. Their Greek beaches are beautiful. Equally beautiful is the full-paged splash on 4, but it’s gorgeous in a very decisively different way. I love that Vampirella can wear her trademark red skimpery on the beach and no one considers it out of place. Her smile in the fourth panel on Page 5 is great. I also love the classic retro-look on Drago, including his finger extensions. The flashback and origin on 9 is great. There’s a graphic scene on 16 that’s executed really well, making Page 17 all the more shocking when a reader hits it. Drago and Vampirella’s exit on 20 is awesome. This book looks great. Overall grade: A

The colors: An outstanding job is also done by colorist Jorge Sutil. Those beaches, in the day and the night, are picture-postcard perfect. I like how the opening narration is white upon black, enclosed in a red outline, making the man’s actions intense before getting close to any harm. I loved the pale green of the antagonist–could it be any other shade? Nicely done in every way. Overall grade: A

The letters: Scene settings, fancy narration, dialogue, sounds, and teasing titles for next month’s tale are from letterer Rob Steen. That opening narration is really cool. Overall grade: A

The final line: This vampire vixen’s tales continue to thrill. Overall grade: A

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two 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.

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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