This is a perfectly good Vampirella inventory story. Brandon Jerwa does an excellent job tailoring a tale that could indeed work for the Doctor and Rose, thus supporting Jerwa’s “Plus One” running gag not to mention a reference to Bad Wolf. Of course, this tale could also work for Batman and Robin as well as any couplet you’d care to name: Buffy and Angel, Sydney Bristow and Michael Vaughn, etc.
The mythology makes it a Vampirella tale. Anybody could meet Jack the Ripper in a fever dream, but it makes more sense to encounter the saucy Victorian in Vampirella than say Superman. The idea of exorcism is a supernatural one, and the grotesque creation fits the mold of Vampirella’s foes. The religious zealotry and backstabbing by Church officials furthermore fuels the fanged one’s foray.
Jerwa establishes a strong bond between Sofia and Vampirella that’s just shy of the linkage between Xena and Gabrielle. Mind you, when Sofia emerges from the dream-state Thames, wearing Vampirella’s costume, you can argue some subtext. Vampirella however has an unbroken history of being attracted to the male of the species. So, any feelings Sofia may or may not possess would be unrequited. Although, Vampirella does give Sofia the kiss of life, a classic method to sneak in a lesbian smooch. It’s nevertheless much easier to argue, given Vampirella’s preferences, that Sofia’s costume change is a symbol of her allegiance. Vampirella rewards her allegiance by sticking by her in the land of dreams.
Johnny Desjardinis and Stanley Renee give these dreams an ethereal atmosphere with light, ghostly colors. Desjardinis’ delicate style recalls that of Alex Nino, and despite this issue being essentially a filler, the artists bestow a great deal of potency to certain scenes. Like Jerwa, the artists streamline the moments to reflect the world of Vampirella.
The story also works to highlight Vampirella’s otherworldly differences from the average vampire. Vampirella enjoys the sunlight. She can swim. Vampires traditionally cannot; their aversion to water emphasized filthiness in the eyes of God. Vampirella can also breathe. True, she does two out of three of these things in the dream-plains. However, she does them naturally. That’s key.
I don’t know whether the creative team let the story evolve that way, or they had a story first, realized that certain scenes wouldn’t work when dealing with vampires, and smacked their collective heads and said, “Oh, wait. It’s Vampirella. She’s an alien vampire.” Either way exhibits more than a modicum of thought spent.
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.