Vampirella seems to have lost her compassion for humanity and gained a taste for human blood in Scarlet Legion, but fear not Vampi fans, writer Joe Harris isn’t flushing Vampirella’s history as humanity’s champion down the toilet.
In short, it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, but it’s not a duck. The blood-thirsty pole dancing gal in the Vampirella costume isn’t Vampirella but a Chaos corrupted doppelganger named Chelsea Cantrell.
A lot of people over the years have questioned my embrace of Vampirella. How can a guy who claims to be a feminist thrill to the adventures of a scantily clad female vampire? It’s simple. Clothes don’t define the woman. Sex appeal is part of a super-heroine’s power. Wonder Woman wears a one piece bathing suit and knee-high boots. Power Girl sports a little window. The femme Legionnaires of the seventies displayed numerous skin-revealing outfits. How is Vampirella different?
Vampirella is not a traditional vampire. Vampirella likes humans, and not as snacks. She is a bona fide super-hero who plies her trade in the horror genre. The fact is when Vampirella shows up, things get better, and she can even ride off into the sunset if she wants to. Harris fosters this feeling during the mid-point of the story, but Vampirella’s foray is interrupted by an old group of whack jobs introduced in Vampirella’s Harris Comics volumes.
The stake-wielding lunatics know that Vampirella is one of the good guys, but due to a prophecy, they take the zealot’s position of pre-emptive strike. That’s perfectly within their group mind-set, and their lame brained actions generate believable conflict. One of the more surprising turn events however occurs when one of Vampirella’s oldest allies shows up out of the blue and throws his lot in with the antagonists.
When Vampirella first appeared she was cartoonish almost a send up of the eerie vampire women of Hammer, but soon after, artists like Maroto and Jose Gonzalez created the mold that other artists followed gladly. This consistency I believe helped preserved Vampirella in pop culture, even when she occasionally disappeared from view. Malaga adheres to tradition.
Malaga gives Vampirella realistic elegance and beefs her up to lend verisimilitude to her battle prowess. No wispy waisted waif is she. Vampirella is a fully developed woman who appears to have worked out at the gym. Technically this choice isn’t necessary since Vampirella possesses preternatural strength, but I think the more full-blooded model sells Vampirella better.