When I was a teenaged boy, I loved the Vampirella comic … for some very obvious reasons! I can recall stuffing in between my superhero comics so that my parents wouldn’t see it. Now…well, it’s a little embarassing to have a copy out. Thank you Kindle for allowing me the privacy to read without showing the world what I’m reading!
So…maybe it’s been thirty-plus years since I’ve read a Vampirella comic. I remember the girl, and the outfit, and the kick-ass nature of it all. Most of this hasn’t changed. There’s still the girl (finally…a reason for a heroine not to have aged!); still the outfit (though it took too long for her to reveal it); and still a lot of kicking ass. And yet… there was something missing…
I mentioned, in a recent review, how great it is to have stories that are larger than life. The greater the conflict the more powerful the story, typically, and you can’t get much more powerful than the struggle between good and evil with the Christian god’s angel army at the fore-front.
It took a little while to actually get in to the story and to be able to follow the story arc. Author Tom Sniegoski works to construct the story, starting streetwise and building to a crescendo with the angels and arcangels, which is a great goal, but the story meanders a little too much and becomes confusing at times. Toss in a little role-reversal and the story is muddier than it needs to be. Still, once I was able to really get a grip on the story, I enjoyed the story portion. Had I been reading single issue comics, rather than a graphic novel, I might not have stayed through to the end.
The artwork was the biggest hurdle for this reviewer. Realism-based, but not quite consistent. Characters occassionally took on a cartoon-y look — not at all appropriate for this genre of story. The art is so important in a graphic novel, and this art felt rushed and cluttered. In a story of such a dark nature, muddying it with extra inks and lots of detail creates a claustophobic atmosphere — and not in a good way. The constant dingy colors didn’t help much.
It’s nice to see that Vampirella is still alive, but she deserves a little more care than she’s currently getting.
Looking for a good book? You might want to pass on this one.
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author: Tom Sniegoski
artist: Johnny Desjardin
publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
paperback, 144 pages