In Review: Vampirella #2

Horror, humor, and shocking visuals make this a Vampirella for the ages.

The covers: Holy cow! Thirty-one covers to collect for this second issue! The A cover by Artgerm is certainly an eye catcher. Vampirella stands bfore the reader with blood trailing down from her mouth and over her chest to create the next to nothing top she’s famous for. Behind her are melted people with red flames rising from them. A full moon is behind her. Great cover! The B by Guillem March has her sitting on a gnarly tree with her right hand draped over a branch and her left at her mouth, making her lost in thought. The background is in pinks and light blues to create an otherworldly setting. Nice. More to my liking is the C frontpiece by Fay Dalton which has the title character kneeling atop a grave with one blood covered hand in the air as the rain falls down in the graveyard. Ghoulishly gorgeous! Next up has the fearsome nun fighters making their way through a forest. This D cover hails from Ergün Gündüz and it’s a stunner. I need to see these characters in a movie! The Cosplay cover is the E featuring Tatiana Neva photographed by Nelson Seralbo. Vampirella is at the bottom of some stairs outside a castle entrance. Skulls comprise the ground and she’s taken off a red cape to drape behind her feet. Beautiful and one to find. The Virgin Art 10 Copy Incentive cover by Gündüz is the same as D, just without any text. I really like this. The B&W art 20 Copy Incentive by Dalton is the same as the C, though without colors save the red title. Good, but better in color. The Virgin Cosplay Photo 30 Copy Incentive featuring Neva is the E without any text and it’s smashing. The Virgin Art 40 Copy Incentive cover by March is the B without text. Also good. The “Noir” Art 50 Copy Incentive cover by Artgerm is the A in black and white. Okay, but better colored. The Virgin Art Limited Edition cover by Artgerm is wonderful without text. Colors return on the Virgin Art Limited Edition by Dalton and it’s one worth finding. The Limited Edition cover by San Julian returns to original work and has the title character standing on a white background with a snake wrapped around her waist and left leg. Really cool. The Ultra-Limited “Blood Moon” Virgin Variant cover by Artgerm is the same as the A, though without text and the moon has been colored pink. This is fine. The FOC Copy “Sneak Peek” Incentive by J. Scott Campbell has a bust shot of Vampirella with her right hand behind her head holding a skull that’s looking down at her. She looks fantastic. Any work by Campbell is one to find. The FOC Copy “Sneak Peek” Virgin Art Incentive by Campbell is the same as the previous cover, free of text. Also very nice! The Artgerm Collectibles “Metallic” Exclusive cover by Artgerm is the A cover but on a metallic cover. I’m over this artwork and all its variants. The Sad Lemon Comics Exclusive by Kunkka has the reader down low looking up at Vampirella who is turning around to look at this surprise viewer. Several bats are flying about her. Beautiful cover and that’s quite the angle. There are two Frankie’s Comics/Goldn Apple Comics Exclusive by Jee Hyung Lee. Each feature Vampirella turned three quarters to the right with her hands behind her back. Red material trails behind her, caught in the wind. A smokestack on the far right billows smoke to show she’s on the roof of a structure. Nice. One features text and one is missing the writing. The Port City Exclusive cover by Jenevieve Broomall and Ula Mos shows the vampire from the backside, with blood on her arms, shoulders, mouth, and backside. She’s before an altar that’s caked in crimson and holds a pair of candles. She appears to be within a jail cell, given the bars in the background. Shannon Maer is the artist of both of The Comic Mint Exclusive covers, one with text and one without. Each has a bust shot of Vampirella facing the reader in a dimly lit setting. She holds her bloody right hand up to drip some fluid into a hungry bat that she holds in her left. Dark and creepy. The most skin from the hero can be found on the Comics Elite exclusive done by Nathan Szerdy. Her face is clean, but the rest of her nude body is covered in streaks of blood falling from above. Vampirella is again turned three quarters to the right. She’s beautiful and this cover will certainly catch the eye. Another Comics Elite exclusive is by Ryan Kincaid with Vampirella striking a pose that Farrah Fawcett did for a Playboy cover. Sitting in an oversized glass full of blood, the hero kicks her legs up as she holds a glass full of the liquid. Behind her, in red, is the upper half of her face looking forward ominously. Great looking cover. Mark Sparacio does the final Comics Elite Exclusive. This has Vampirella on her knees in a graveyard, under a full moon, reaching out a hand to the reader. Nice. Unknown Comic Books has two covers: one by Vo Nguyen and Chris Beaver and the other by Anna Zhou. The former has Vampirella with her back against a tree at night. She holds a bat up in her left hand as she flashes a smile. Cute. The latter has the title character facing the left but turning toward the reader. An intense red sky holds an equally intense rose colored moon. She’s wearing her iconic clothes, but is showing a lot of skin. The Slabbed Heroes Exclusive Edition by Jimmy Mulligan is interesting. She sits upon a concrete tomb featuring a carving of Bela Lugosi as several bats fly about her holding birthday cake. Funny and cute. The final pair of covers hail from Tom Nguyen for The Golden Age of 1942. Vampirella leans back into a tree. This is a really dark cover. Though her skin shows up fairly well, the rest of the cover has every other element blend in too well with everything else. Overall grades: A A, B B-, C A, D A+, E A+, Virgin Art 10 Copy Incentive A+, B&W Art 20 Copy Incentive C+, Virgin Cosplay Photo 30 Copy Incentive A+, Virgin Art 40 Copy Incentive B, “Noir” Art 50 Copy Incentive C-, Virgin Art Limited Edition A+, Virgin Art Limited Edition A, Limited Edition Julian A, Ultra-Limited “Blood Moon” Virgin Variant B, FOC Copy “Sneak Peek” Incentive A+, FOC Copy “Sneak Peek” Virgin Art Incentive A+, Artgerm Collectibles “Metallic” Exclusive A-, Sad Lemon Comics Exclusive A-, Frankie’s Comics/Golden Apple Comics Exclusive B, Frankie’s Comics/Golden Apple Comics Virgin Exclusive B, Port City Exclusive A, The Comic Mint Exclusive B-, The Comic Mint Virgin Exclusive B-, Comics Elite Exclusive Szerdy A, Comics Elite Exclusive Kincaid A, Comics Elite Exclusive Sparacio B, Unknown Comic Books Exclusive Nguyen B-, Unknown Comic Books Exclusive Zhou B, Slabbed Heroes Exclusive B+, The Golden Age of 1942 Exclusive D+, and The Golden Age of 1942 Virgin Exclusive D+

The story: A year ago when Vampirella lived in Los Angeles she was sitting at home thinking about her mother Lilith who chastised her for not having a life. Her thoughts are interrupted when her smartwatch goes off. She tells her black cat Grit that it’s feeding time. However, it’s not time for the cat to eat. Christopher Priest then moves elsewhere, to a little girl with her back against a wall in an alley. Two adults are shown with an exchange of money between them. The man who gave the other money goes to the child and puts his hand on her shoulder. A turn of the page shows Vampirella ripping open the neck of the man who took the cash. His body hits the concrete, causing the other man to run from the girl. Vampirella orders the girl to go home and she bolts away. Taking a pistol from the dead man’s pocket she says, “…Animal…Using a child that way…” She bends down to the body to drink its fluids. The psychologist speaking to Vampirella interrupts this flashback, “So…you were bored. That’s how this all got started…A year ago…back in L.A.” The present day is returned to with the doctor equally bored with the title character. She proceeds to recount how she got a life by meeting someone on Page 7. Before getting to this encounter there’s a hilarious sequence of characters on the page preceding it. Page 10 introduces the nuns who work with Vampirella to destroy evil, and what evil it is that’s revealed on 12. There’s Quentin Tarantino action that escalates quickly with some supernatural savagery. A familiar face remains on 17 and then the final three pages end with the most outrageous action of all. I still have no clear idea where this session is heading, but it sure is interesting to read. Overall grade: A 

The art and colors: The visuals by Ethan Gündüz are fantastic. The first page has Vampirella dressed casually in a chair petting Grit. When it’s time to feed it makes her change into her more familiar togs dramatic. The four panels that end the page focus on the young girl in the alley. Notice how there’s no dialogue, relying wholly on Gündüz’s ability to tell the story with his art, and it is as frightening as any bloodletting. Speaking of which, Page 2 is a full-paged splash of her tearing open a man’s neck — it’s a terrific horror! Her command to the child on the third page is also slick. The three panels on 4 that show the hero revealed with a funny action are beautiful. The introduction of the psychologist shows the reader everything they need to know about this character — and what a face! The twelve panels on 6 are a hilarious cornucopia of America. The transition between panels four and six on 7 is a wowser! I love how Gündüz sets up the first panel on the next page that leads to a somewhat similar layout on the panels that follow. 10 is a full-paged splash that introduces Mother Mary and does she look intense. Heck, look at the five nuns accompanying her at the top of the next page — awesome! The activity on 12 is jaw-dropping. The supernatural reveal on 14 is howling horror at its finest. Just when I thought the visuals couldn’t get any better, the final pair of pages are spectacular. This is gorgeous gruesomeness at its finest. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, scene settings, sounds, the story title, credits, narration, an editorial note, supernatural speech, and the tease for next issue are brought to life by Willie Schubert. The dialogue looks great and words are italicized to allow the reader to hear the character’s stress correctly. The scene settings are set up like novel chapters. The sounds are excellent, with the sound in the third panel on Page 4 delightful. I love that Vampirella’s narration is different from her dialogue and from the editorial note. The supernatural speech looks as though it’s ripped from the underworld. Truly, Schubert is a skilled letterer. Overall grade: A

The final line: Horror, humor, and shocking visuals make this a Vampirella for the ages. Add nuns with guns into this book and it becomes epic. You ain’t read Vampirella until you’ve read this book! Recommended. Overall grade: A

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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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