Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Vampirella #0 - Dynamite Entertainment

VAMPIRELLA No. 0, February 2017
Sold as a twenty-five cent “introductory priced issue” by “Dynamite Entertainment” in February 2017, this seventeen-page periodical must surely have demoralised all but the most ardent of “Vampirella” devotees with its utterly bizarre sci-fi script set “over a thousand years” since Forrest J Ackerman’s co-creation was supposedly last seen “defending the world from threats both mystic and evil.” In fact, as a result of the narrative’s futuristic setting and inclusion of laser weapons, it’s hard not to contradict Paul Cornell’s pre-publication belief that this comic isn’t apparently yet another of the publisher’s reboots…

Perhaps top of this comic’s list of disappointments is the Chippenham-born novelist’s conviction that a story featuring “the daughter of Lilith” facing a dystopian world “unlike anything she might expect – or want to defend” would be of much interest to a gothic anti-heroine’s fan-base. True, just such a tale is clearly the “beginning [of] a new and very different direction” for the one-time inhabitant of the planet Drakulon, and a modicum of interest can at least be gleaned from the adventurers’ brief exploration of the vampire’s creepy catacombs and cob-webbed crypt.

But, alongside its disconcerting space-age setting and disagreeable premise that humans now contain “a new sort of blood”, this entire book genuinely feels more akin to the series’ previously printed “Altered States” one-shot, rather than anything nourishingly new. Indeed, it is surely not the greatest of signs for the quality of a book’s writing when the magazine’s most exciting feature is arguably an announcement for a “deal with Lionsgate to bring [the neo-noir action thriller film character] John Wick to comics” rather than the magazine's actual content? 

Just as displeasing as the “Doctor Who” author’s rather lack-lustre and arguably pedantically-paced plot, are Jimmy Broxton’s somewhat scratchy-looking breakdowns. A frequent collaborator of Cornell, the “UK based graphic artist” undoubtedly stems from a similar vein to Vampirella’s original “black-and-white magazine” illustrators with a technique truly reminiscent of Jim Holdaway’s “Modesty Blaise”. However, when applied to such subject matters as advanced clothing, not dissimilar to that found throughout Judge Dredd’s post-apocalyptic Mega-City One, and coloured using a garishly pink palette, the penciller’s “classy, European style” appears far more akin to that found within the panels of an amateur fanzine as opposed to something promoted by “a [genuine] force in the American comic book industry.”
The variant cover art of "VAMPIRELLA" No. 0 by J. Scott Campbell

4 comments:

  1. Sadly, I must agree with your review here, Simon. I wasn't at all excited or drawn in when I read this comic. I don't know why the authors decided to set Vampirella so far in the future. Her previous long running storyline set in contemporary Los Angeles was excellent and still had much potential for future tales. This complete change baffles me and is one I'm not sure I like. What would have excited me a lot more would have been a Vampirella/Judge Dredd crossover. Oh, the possibilities!

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    1. Sorry Bryan. I purposely bought this title so I could finally enjoy a title you have been recommending to me for ages... and thought it was awful. I do however own #1, so perhaps it improves? Probably not. As you say though, a "Vampirella/Judge Dredd" crossover would be great - perhaps even better than her collaboration with "Army of Darkness"? ;-)

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    2. I doubt if we'll ever see a Vampirella/Judge Dredd crossover in either of their comics, but it has got me thinking about having her drop into MC1 in my own JDMG campaign. What fun I could have with that plot! :-)

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    3. You're probably more likely to see Vampirella/Judge Dredd than "Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens", Bryan. I'm still waiting for #4 of last year's mini-series to be released :-(

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