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Vampirella #21

Posted: Saturday, June 21, 2003
By: Ray Tate



"Blood & Roses" Part III

Writer: John Smith
Artists: Javier Pina(p), Jimmy Palmiotti(i), Avalon Studios(c)
Publisher: Harris

The final chapter in Vampirella's latest adventure is a tightly written comeuppance for the villain of the piece that relies on atypical horror trappings. When last we left Vamp, our heroine pulled herself out of the chemically-induced guilt trip the villain injected and then in heroic fashion split the straps binding her to the maniac's gurney. This hero was ticked off, and she was about to share that feeling.

John Smith's intelligent scripting is evident. He knows that the hero is supposed to prevent the horrors from happening. A rape for instance he treats as a crime of violence, and he expresses the trauma felt by the victim. Of course, since Vampirella is within walking distance, this crime cannot happen, and so it does not happen. He does not allow this crime to happen to create artificial depth or weigh the hero down with an all-consuming angst. He knows that the incident if allowed to occur would not make the story better in any way and contradict the message of female empowerment that Vampirella embodies.

Kessler is wise enough to know when it's time to fold the cards and run. His followers kind of limp and lurk since being transfused with Vamp's blood was not exactly a wise move. Smith does not ask you to feel sorry for these humps, nor does he ask you to feel sorry for the greedy bubba behind the badge. What occurs to them are just desserts and gruesomely comical. The villains' dispatch is partially why as you read the sometimes gory proceedings in Vampirella you still have a grin on your face.

This issue Javier Pina's and Jimmy Palmiotti's artwork is admittedly a little rushed, but Vamp and all the characters remain proportionate throughout the story. The choreography does not jump but smoothly follows the narrative, and the living vampire is still awesome in action. Though an experienced hero, even the depth of depravity in her foes can affect her, and her reactions come across particularly well.

Despite the eponymous character being scantily-clad, Vampirella is not a T & A book. The title heroine lives up to the description. The intent is serious, and her personality overwhelms the amount of skin being shown.



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