REVIEW: Vampirella #2

Nancy A. Collins (w)
Patrick Berkenkotter (a)
Terry Dodson, Jenny Frison (c)
Fans & retailers, order the cover of your choice!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+
Terry Dodson Black & White retailer incentive cover
In stores 7/2/2014
Continuing Dynamite’s celebration of Vampirella’s 45th anniversary! Upon learning of Vampirella being marked as a vessel for Lady Umbra, Demon-Queen of the Shadows, her contacts in Cestus Dei label her a threat and send an elite hit-squad of monster-killers–the Mallus Maleficarum, aka the Witch-Hammer–lead by the implacable Father Nicodemus, to dispose of her. With her world abruptly turned upside down, Vampirella finds herself unexpectedly allied with the strangest bedfellow imaginable.

For me, Vampirella has always been one of those characters that has been hard for me to latch onto. Ever since her resurrection in the 1990s, it seemed like every time I read a story, there was a lot going on and the back-story seemed very convoluted and her mythology dense. It’s nice to finally read a comic that boils it all down to a few panels. Nancy Collins does a very good job of taking a character that’s always visually appealed to the more prurient aspects of comics fandom and making her an acceptable and somewhat believable character. She introduces conflict in a way that doesn’t leave us, as the readers, as confused as the character. A character does come to aid Vampirella that I found interesting enough to see if she can develop him into a truly interesting character that I want to care about. In the context of this story, I do care about Vampirella, and feel that she’s found herself in another set of circumstances that are moving way too fast for her.

The artwork indulges in titillation a little too much for my tastes, with this rendition of Vampirella’s iconic costume looking far too impractical. I have an innate distaste for Terry Dodson’s artwork (I find it to be derivative) but he does manage to draw a believable costume on the cover, but inside, we find her wearing something that she should find uncomfortable and incapable of keeping her covered in battle. Vampirella’s appeal has always been largely due to her sex appeal, but sexiness does not have to equal near nudity. There are panels where the amount of flesh being bared is practically distracting. Outside of that, the artwork is just fine, for while I do find some of the figures posed stiffly, they are consistently rendered and the colorist, Jorge Sutil, accents the artwork admirably and doesn’t try to outshine the artwork by Patrick Berkenkotter and Dennis Crisostomo.

Do I recommend this comic? I do for fans of the more horror-themed Vampire genre and fans of Vampirella. Unfortunately it’s riding that fine line that separates good comics from mediocre ones. It can cross that line, but it has to step up in order to get there. Nancy Collins is the right writer for this character, I’m just not certain that this is the right art team for her.