Steve Pugh through his artwork attempts to discern whose cachongas are larger: Vampirella’s Brobdingnagian blood-sacks or Witchablde-wielder Sara Pezzini’s poultice pillows. There is more to the artwork than these headlighting features.
If you can get past these visual roadblocks, and they are gargantuan in disproportion, you may enjoy the artist’s strengths. He conveys a convincing snow-shrouded setting that is worked into the plot. His artwork characterizes the heroines as ferocious fighters.
Mr. Pugh works in many outstanding moments. Vampirella powerfully surges out of a bone-chillingly cold bay that to a human would be lethal. Pezzini’s leap from rooftop to rooftop does not rely on the traditional ground floor point of view. The attack of the supernatural revels in horrific imagery that genuinely makes the reader uneasy, and the climactic revelation of the big bad does not fizzle but rather grabs the reader by the throat.
In terms of characterization, Brian Wood mostly draws upon the core of these characters. The allusion to Buffy the Vampire Slayer regarding loneliness fits Pezzini’s personality and offers an inside joke about the way the independents’ treat their worlds. Pezzini according to the DC/Top Cow combo was best friends with Babs Gordon and exists in the same world as the Justice League. Likewise, Vampirella has met Catwoman, but in this exercise only two stand in the way of the creatures of the night that would enslave or destroy the world. The premise works beautifully.
Mr. Wood’s plot at first seems generic. There’s a sense that any two heroes could stand in the place of Vamp and Pez. At first. While Pez should not be surprised at the existence of the supernatural and the Witchblade should have activated far sooner to protect her, the plot really functions because of not despite the presence of the stars.
Why does Pez meet Vampirella? The bad weather forces her to take another route home–giving the story a nice Twilight Zone riff. How does Pez meet Vampirella? Vamp is in hot pursuit of a destructive supernatural creature. Why does Pez become involved? She believes that Vampirella stole her piece. Why does she have a gun if she has the Witchblade? Simple. She’s a detective. Why does she pursue Vampirella? She still thinks Vampirella has her gun, which makes her responsible for any crime that the perp commits. Why does the slugfest happen? It doesn’t. Vampirella can if she wanted tear out Pez’s innards. She does not. Why? Vampirella is a hero. How do the heroes reach a truce? The creature of Vampirella’s pursuit has no such compunction about using a gun on the heroes. Well, that’s all well and good, but why in this story are Pez and Vampirella needed? Because both are supernatural heroes of limited power who have considerable experience in dealing with such situations, and only they as the story is written could have dealt with such a problem, especially in but one stand-alone issue.