“The Choir in the Mist”
Dan Jolley gave us the JSA elseworlds Liberty File and Unholy Three, and while those projects are highly recommended, that doesn’t mean he has an inkling about how to write Vampirella. He nevertheless comes through with a solid story that’s enhanced by extraordinary artwork.
Mr. Jolley’s tale makes good use of continuity. The classic titbits engorge the narration with Vamp’s character, and the current transfusions create a rapid pulse from which the story can resonate.
Mr. Jolley in addition mixes modern day with Celtic legend. One particular rune proves to be garlic for our favorite femme vampire hero, and how she overcomes the magic makes her presence particularly integral to the story. You really cannot see anybody else executing such a plan.
Stefano Caselli is the latest artist to dip his pen in red ink, and what can I say but wow. Doing it all, Mr. Caselli calls a Vampirella that respects anatomy while still being drop-dead gorgeous. The brown and red highlights of her fleshtones evoke a honed to perfection musculature.
Instead of huge hemorrhage-filled hackeysacks, her breasts he conceals for half the book behind a striking scarlet cloak. While there are two butt-shots that needn’t be, but these cheeks can crack a skull. Some will complain that she’s so obviously naked, but Mr. Caselli’s singular technique reminds readers and artists that nipples have weight and depth. This is how a beautiful, sinewy woman would look wearing the poured on abbreviation that Vampirella always wears. None of his artwork however crosses the line into exploitation territory. His is the kind of artwork from the older school where the body is not to be distorted but celebrated.
Mr. Jolley sends Vampirella on strong hunt, and he characterizes her as if he’s been doing it his entire life. Stefano Caselli is a true artist who studies the human form and drains what he sees to the pages. As usual, I urge mature readers of both sexes to investigate this professionally crafted comic book starring the gutsy and capable Vampirella.