For the record, Vampirella is a character that I am not very familiar with. The character has been around since the 70’s, and during the 90’s comic-book “bad girl” craze enjoyed resurgent popularity, but for some reason I just never felt interested. I did buy two comics in which she was teamed up with Jim Valentino’s Shadowhawk, but that was because at the time I was a hardcore Image Comics fan, who followed all of their characters. I may still have those two books stored away, but I honestly can’t remember anything about them. I also vaguely recall watching, or trying to watch, the crappy B-movie that came out in 1996, which I only just now found out was directed by Jim Wynorski, but I really don’t remember a damn thing about it.
I say all this, just to point out that I’m going into this book, “blind,” with no real knowledge or preconceived notions about the character. I picked this issue up due to the fact that I knew Blake Northcott had a story in it, and she has proven to be a master at writing stories featuring long-standing characters that are accessible to new readers, such as she did in her previous miniseries’ ALL_NEW FATHOM and EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT: IRIS. And here she’s teamed with a seasoned-pro, Scott Lobdell, so I had high hopes for this issue. Were those hopes met? Read on:
This special issue contains two stories. First up is HAPPY DEATH DAY, VAMPIRELLA! written by Scott Lobdell and drawn by Rapha Lobosco. The general premise is that it’s Halloween, we’re in Salem Massachusetts, and this is the one time of the year where the evil spirits/demons/etc. are able to escape from Hell and attempt to take over the land of the living. Or something. Okay, it’s not exactly all that clear, and there’s not much explanation as the story just gets right to the action. Vampirella is in town to protect the normal humans from the monsters, which including vampires (among them THE Dracula), zombies, and such. Also in town is a woman named Trina, who has some kind of previous history with Vampirella. Trina, dressed like Negan from The Walking Dead (although they never say his name) meets up with two of her friends, who are dressed like Ghostbusters (ditto) to celebrate Halloween and her birthday, and they’re right in the middle of things when the monsters attack, but are thankfully saved by Vampirella. Trina’s friends get separated, and she has to overcome her fears and join Vampirella to keep them and the town safe. There are couple of surprising twists at the end or the story, which I won’t spoil, except to say that things wrap up rather nicely.
A good action-packed story. Easily enough to follow along with. The only thing bringing it down a bit is that Lobosco’s art looks a little rough, and doesn’t quite fit the tone of the story as well as it could, in my opinion.
Chacebook rating: 4 STARS
The second story is TRICK OR TREAT? which is co-written by Scott Lobdell and Blake Northcott, and drawn by Anthony Marques, with Marc Deering on inks. It’s Halloween again, and three young boys arrive at Vampirella’s home for trick or treat, but are disappointed by her appearance, as she’s dressed somewhat like a 1950’s American suburban housewife, albeit with pale skin and fangs, and the fact that she’s giving out apples instead of candy. It’s clear that Lobdell and Northcott are going for a humorous “meta” take on modern reactions to Vampirella’s sexy image, which some may view as sexist. And they manage to make that point without being preachy or obvious about it. When the kids TP Vampirella’s house, she decides to go “retro” on their asses in way which is hilarious, with a another
surprising plot twist at the end.
This story was both suspenseful and funny, and the artwork for it is perfect.
Chacebook rating: FIVE STARS
So, overall, I’d say mission accomplished. I still don’t know that much about the character, but both stories were accessible enough that I could follow along and enjoy them just fine. So this is recommended for newbies. And I have to assume that for longtime fans of the character this will be even better, as they were may be some Easter eggs and shout outs to other stories that I missed. So, whichever group you’re part of, take my advice and get this!
Categories: BLAKE NORTHCOTT