Review: Vampirella #1

I was pleasantly, but cautiously surprised by Vampirella #0. Dynamite promises a new direction for the character. Vampirella #1 is the official beginning of this new direction. Does my pleasant surprise turn into an appreciation?

Vampirella #1

Writer: Paul Cornell
Art: Jimmy Broxton
Cover A: Philip Tan
Cover B: J. Scott Campbell
Cover C: Joseph Michael Linsner
Cover D: Cosplay Cover
Cover E Subscription: Jimmy Broxton

Rating: Teen +
Genre: Horror
ON SALE DATE: 3/15

SOLICITATION:

After a sleep of over a thousand years, Vampirella finds herself back among the land of the living, but in a world far different than the one she remembers, where hope is laced with fear and blood has a far different taste. And speaking of taste, finding an appropriate outfit for the era leads our fanged fatale to a chance encounter that will garner her not one but two potential allies.

REVIEW:

This is definitely  new direction and after a plethora of titles helmed by female protagonists known more how little they wore than what they actually did, it’s a very welcome direction.Based on the limited exposure to the outside world of the future depicted in the zero issue, I almost expected a dystopian, albeit technologically advanced civilization. What Paul Cornell and Jimmy Broxton give us is much more. It seems a little derivative, although I can’t put my finger on exactly where I’ve seen it before. It’s as if they pulled an element from here and there, creating something that seems familiar instead of trying to weave something completely new and different.

The problem with setting something “1000 years in the future” is the level of social advancement. Imagine how different society, much less technology was just after the Norman invasion of England. Now imaging plucking someone from that time and putting them in the present day. Some things are universal, but the period of adjustment could be very disorienting. For Vampirella, we get a taste of this, but are asked to let some obvious problems, such as the likelihood that after 1000 years, the language may be almost unrecognizable go as to allow the story to progress at a reasonable pace.

The society that Vampirella encounters is one built around a theme of hedonism, which may or may not be an analogy for the direction our western culture is taking. Vampirella could adapt to such a culture, but has an affront to the obvious problems that she encounters. The hedonism-driven culture hides something more omnious, and this Vampirella doesn’t discount the stories that has built the character in her time with Dynamite. It would be too easy for Paul Cornell to write this as we can treat all of that as a dream a sleeping Vampirella had, or just to forget it and write the character from the Warren stories that made her a legend.

The art is very evocative of the early Warren, but also owes a lot to more modern futuristic storytelling. My review copy is filled with censoring bars, which makes me wonder if Dynamite is going all out with it’s depictions of what this hedonistic culture is openly displaying in fashion. The zero issue had these bars in the print version as well, and I personally find them more distracting than the profanity or mature imagery.

Is Vampirella a good comic? As long as this tone and quality are maintained, then it can really be a turning point for both the character and Dynamite. It’s a turning point, but one that doesn’t take an iconic character and turn her into something entirely different. Instead it takes her in a new direction in which she remains Vampirella.

  • Frank Hamilton

    Solid review. I’m not hanging on the edge of my seat waiting for the next issue, but I do wish to continue reading. Vampirella as a character is depicted rather faithfully so that’s a plus. Also, I loved how in a world of debauchery and lewdness, Vampirella choses a more conservative attire in order to “shock” the masses.

    But the #0 and #1 I bought were both censored which was super annoying. If the intent was to keep the rating at Teen+, then you need to be smarter about the art and script. A more clever artist would be able to easily depict anything he/she wanted on a page, but do it in a way where no censor bars would be needed. That alone could be a deal breaker for me, but we’ll see how the story progresses.