Friday, 14 April 2017

Vampirella #1 - Dynamite Entertainment

VAMPIRELLA No. 1, March 2017
Described by Paul Cornell as the “first issue proper” of “Vampirella”, this twenty-two page periodical must have utterly bemused any reader foolish enough to have thought they could miss the title’s previously published “teaser” edition. For whilst the comic’s script definitely contains the sassy, smart-mouthed she-vampire clearly demonstrating her dislike of incivility, impoliteness and a serious thirst for the blood of the unjust, it perturbingly starts with the titular character clawing her way up from some “caves under paradise” and immediately confronting a literal army of heavily armoured flying angels which supposedly “stink of hell.”

Admittedly, this bewilderingly futuristic introduction to the series is somewhat clarified by way of a brief summary of events at the top of the book’s opening credits. But so small an explanatory text box really is rather easily overlooked, and resultantly causes the Chippenham-born novelist’s narrative to instantly become utterly unfathomable and the iconic blood-drinker almost unrecognisable; especially when she subsequently adopts a short-haired look with “dull clothes” in order to not “blend in.”  

Equally as disorientating is the professional author’s increasingly aggravating insistence on having Vampirella’s additional thoughts annotated along the bottom of each page, and some astoundingly contrived leaps of logic. Why, for example, having completely surrounded Forrest J. Ackerman’s super-heroine, do the countless numbers of sci-fi sword-wielding knights simply allow her to lose them by flying off into the sky and seeking shelter amidst the ruins of Mount Rushmore? The winged warriors are clearly capable of following the female blood-drinker, and have much to avenge on account of the former “horror-story hostess” literally ripping the limbs of off some of their comrades-in-arms…

Jimmy Broxton’s scratchy illustrations are sadly just as off-putting as this comic’s storyline, with the “UK based graphic artist” seemingly trying to emulate the look of Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 dystopian crime film “A Clockwork Orange”. Such an instantly distinguishable look, complete with a plethora of phallic clothing accessories, would arguably have caused many of this magazine’s older audience to become somewhat nostalgically sympathetic to what the penciller (and colorist) was striving to achieve. Yet not even a plethora of diverse “droogs” is, disappointingly, enough to help save what otherwise appears to be a very amateurish series of breakdowns.
The regular cover art of "VAMPIRELLA" No. 1 by Philip Tan & Elmer Santos


  1. A very fair review, Simon, but my feelings towards this comic are far stronger than yours. Quite frankly, I was appalled at what the creative team have done with my favourite vampire. As you said, why didn't the flying angels follow Vampi when she took flight? What I hated the most about this pile of crap was the makeover they gave Vampi. What an awful new costume they gave her. And as for her cropped hair - ugh! This is not the Vampirella I know and love and as far as I'm concerned this is just a "what if?" story and most definitely not canon. Oh, and I found all the censored boxes and blacked out swear words a huge distraction. I had high hopes for this series but they have been cruelly dashed. I will stick with the series, purely out of my loyalty to Vampirella but I know I'm not going to enjoy it. Honestly, Simon, I feel so angry and let down by this series. Of all the truly great Vampirella stories you could have chosen to review you once again pick an absolute stinker! Oh, dear me!

    1. Many thanks, Bryan. I too disliked the censorship and 'new look' Vampi. I'm sure you won't be surprised to know that I won't be buying any more of this title, and will be steering clear of the character in future; at least until "Dynamite Entertainment" sell the licence - This must be the third of their "Vampirella" titles I've bought and everyone has been truly awful!!

      I suppose the good news for you though is that I understand Cornell and Broxton have had a huge falling out with one another over a future variant cover illustration for this title, and as a result I believe both have left the book..?

      "I will stick with the series, purely out of my loyalty" - now you know why I still buy "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Moon Knight" ;-)

    2. I really don't blame you for dropping this title from your list. If our roles were reversed I would too. Yes, I do know why you stick with Amazing Spiderman and Moon Knight. I totally get your loyalty. There's always the hope that things will get better. The sooner this pathetic Vampirella series ends the better, as far as I'm concerned.

      What worries me is your unerring knack to chose the worst possible Vampirella stories to review on your blog. They certainly do not reflect the majority of her tales, which are either good, very good or superb. And no, that is not me being biased. There some genuinely gripping, well-written and well-illustrated series about her.

    3. "Your unerring knack to chose the worst possible Vampirella stories to review" - Perhaps at the next comic-con I'll see whether I can track down some back issues of some of her earlier series. But when the best "Vampirella" title I've read is her "Army Of Darkness/Vampirella" crossover mini-series, I'm sure you can appreciate my trepidation to give her a fourth shot ;-)

    4. Alternatively, just ask me what's hot and what's not. :-)

    5. I'll certainly be interested to know if this current series of "Vampirella" ever picks up, Bryan? Perhaps the new post-Cornell creative team will do a "Dallas" type Bobby Ewing shower scene, by depicting Vampirella waking up from a strange dream :-)

    6. LOL! I wouldn't put it past them! I will let you know how this series pans out but I do fear the worst for it.

    7. In the meantime I do still have the "Aliens/Vampirella" crossover mini-series to read and review, so just as soon as I find a window for it, I'll be sure to post about that one. :-)

    8. I was wondering when you were going to get round to that series. You'll be pleased to know it is far, far better than all of the other Vampirella stories you've reviewed. Thumbs up, Simon!

    9. "I was wondering when you were going to get round to that series." - I have something of a backlog, Bryan ;-)