Monday, July 11, 2011
Fanholes Side Story #8 Vampires Suck?
Vampires have been done to death the past couple of years. We can blame Twilight (at least i do) for the massive outpouring of vampire movies, books, tv shows, comics...you name it. When I heard there would be a new Vampirella book I thought maybe Dynamite was going to jump on the band wagon, but I also thought maybe they could do her some justice.
Let me get personal for a moment. I’ve never been very big on blondes. I think that’s largely due to two femme fatales from my childhood. Bettie Page and Vampirella. My first exposure to Vampirella came when I found a few back issues of her comic magazine, complete with beautiful covers painted by Frank Frazetta. It was the kind of thing I knew I’d get in trouble for looking at if my mom caught me. But it was totally worth it.
Each issue has no less than four variant covers. I should add that these covers depict classic Vampirella, which is a big tease as the ‘classic’ Vampirella only shows up as a dream demon...or something. A repressed aspect of Vampirella’s personality perhaps...we’re not quite sure. We hit the ground running with Vampirella taking out several of her kin and picking up a sidekick along the way. She battles other vampires, even some pretending to be cops and is teased with the knowledge that something bad is coming. A big bad that Vampirella can either submit to and rule at its side, or fight it...but only by embracing her true nature. As far as her origins go, she speaks of Drakulon and Adam so its still unclear what continuity this series is following exactly.
For the first five issues Vampirella is mostly running around acting like Batman. She uses a vampire bat emblem to kill other vamps. This ‘look’ she has is simply sunglasses, a long trench coat and some guns. Not very inspired, but it gets the job done. Vampirella has went from being very exposed in her bikini to being completely covered up. The art is good for the most part. Though I have to say there were a few pages where some of the characters looked very distorted, almost as though the artist just didn’t have time to finish.
At the end of issue five we see Vampirella in her classic outfit, finally, and also we’re teased that she has embraced her destiny of becoming the bride of the big bad that’s coming to destroy the planet. This series seems to suggest the ‘classic’ version of Vampirella has been mentally suppressed and is something she must embrace to fully defeat the evil before her. I should state that this big bad is a...well it’s a worm. Kind of reminds me of the sand worms from Dune. Only, not as frightening.
I would say this comic is similar to The Last Phantom. Both are reboots or re-imaginations of classic characters. Both start out in redesigned costumes, only to finally embrace their roots in the fifth issue. Where I would recommend the Last Phantom to fans of the Phantom, I’m not sure I’d recommend this comic to fans of Vampirella.
However, I wouldn’t go so far as to say this book is bad. I like to give new titles the benefit of the doubt, so I’ll give it another seven issues to see where the story is going.