Vampirella’s been around for a long time, historically and in the context of the fiction. There’s a reason for that. She likes humans. She doesn’t see her affection as weakness, and that’s her strength. The very reason why she’s a hero explains her longevity. In this issue of her eponymous title, Vampirella beats the crap out of the Karasu Shima, a trio of hellish sisters. Her human companion Sofia plays a vital part in her plan to dispose of the satanic troika.
Vampirella is visceral action-horror exquisitely rendered by substitute artist Huebert Khan Michael. A surprise in itself. Usually, a guest artist means unwelcome shoddiness. Not here. Khan Michael has an affinity for Vampirella, capturing her distinctive look while displaying her savagery toward monsters. Khan Michael demonstrates Vampirella’s stamina and otherworldly speed. The battle because of the participants moves like lightning. Thus, when Vampirella splinters a wooden column, the shards become wooden darts traveling at velocities powerful enough to propel them into the Shima.
As Vee fights and withstands the counter-slashes of the Shima, her shirt rips and tears. The torn clothing isn’t included for the sake of titillation. The dishevelment accents the speed and the ferocity of the battle. The visual of course alludes to James Bama’s Doc Savage covers.
While you can easily ignore writer Eric Trautmann’s words and just enjoy the ultimate cage fight, Trautmann’s taunts in Vampirella’s dialogue and the certainty in her narrative enhance Vee’s feeling of ease. Vee’s battle against the Shima is easily one of the most harrowing and you know that Vampirella would overcome the Shima alone if she had to. Sofia however gives her palpable relief. Sofia’s aid gives the fight a whole different attitude and foreshadows the inevitable but never the less dramatic conclusion, which punctuates the questions asked previously and in this issue with unearthly blood.
Ray Tate’s first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, “Spider Without a Web,” published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he’s young at heart. Of course, we all know better.