Vampirella #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Huh. Two Dynamite comics in one month. That’s never happened before. Keep up the good comics, guys.
Dynamite goes back and forth between being simple TnA and in-depth stories where some skin gets flashed. They’ve been focusing more on the latter for years now, most notably with Miss Fury, the aforementioned Gail Simone comics, and others. They did a rather incredible send-up of every modern western vampire story a few years back using this character, and that was a lot of fun, but…
… well, it’s Vampirella. There’s some weirdness here because the character is weird. She’s had origin stories that make her an alien or make her a vampire or make her the daughter of Lilith or… she’s got a convoluted back story that involves gods, other planets, angels, demons, pretty much everything. Her root, though, her very start was in horror erotica and it was often genuinely terrifying, playing with concepts of monstrousness and humanity.
There’s something to the character that speaks to the heart of vampiric myth, an honesty born of the Victorian era while confronting and murdering the conceits of that era. She can be fun, she can be commanding, she can horrific – there’s very little that is beyond the character’s literary grasp given the utter chaos that is her history.
Many writers, when confronted by this, shuffle it all to the side and start anew. This is the real mythology, they say, and move on. The writer Dynamite has chosen for this iteration of the character, Paul Cornell, has a different view on the subject: they’re all true, he says. I like to imagine him laughing as he says it, perhaps even cackling.
He’s having Vampirella woken up after a thousand years of sleep, the subject of a prophecy in a world that we’re going to have to learn about as she does. At the same time, her own memories have been damaged and so she’s got to try and piece together who and what she is. Thankfully, the people that died waking her up left her a somewhat legible book of prophecies to work with, so she does have that going for her.
Paul has no problem letting his world and characters build themselves, and artist Jimmy Broxton walks a perfect line between camp, atmosphere, and epic. This is an incredibly powerful start to a new series and an entirely different take on a familiar character that snaps into what you might know of her perfectly, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.