Thursday, September 3, 2015

Review - Aliens/Vampirella #1 (@DynamiteComics)

"I mean, welcome, Vampirella, to our Mars Base One!"

Pop quiz: what do you get when you mix a vampire with an alien? A lot of blood most likely. For humans caught in the middle, the hope is that at least one is on their side and in Aliens/Vampirella #1 from Dynamite Comics, that one is Vampirella. The issue is written by Corinna Bechko, illustrated by Javier Garcia-Miranda, colored by InLight Studios and lettered by Simon Bowland.

Humans have begun to colonize Mars, but something ancient and sinister got there first. Now Vampirella is faced with a mystery only she can solve, and the bloody realization that some monsters should never be awakened.

Vampirella doesn't really have many opponents she can't handle relatively easily, so it's pretty interesting that she's being pitted against Aliens. Bechko doesn't really waste a lot of time introducing the reader to Vampirella; instead, she focuses more on the Aliens and their presence. Having said that, the story in Aliens/Vampirella #1 will be pretty familiar to fans of the Alien franchise, as it's essentially another mining/exploratory mission that goes horribly wrong. That's not a knock on Bechko, as she does a good job with the dialogue and making Vampirella's presence with the crew seem pretty ho-hum. The interactions between Vampirella and the Xenomorphs is pretty fascinating though, as her biology is vastly different than most other beings the aliens have encountered.

Both of the title characters largely hail from the "dark and brooding" side of things and that's the look Garcia-Miranda captures well. Vampirella's physique is toned down somewhat, making her feel more like a part of the crew and less like a voluptuous vampire heroine. The other characters manage to display appropriate levels of emotion (mostly fear) in ways that underscore the sheer terror the crew has to contend with. The somewhat traditional, grid panel layout keeps the reader focused where appropriate and guides the story down a very specific path. InLight Studios relied heavily on dark colors, some of which make it a little difficult to discern what's actually going on.

Aliens/Vampirella #1 takes two familiar franchises and mashes them together, prompting results that are pretty fascinating actually. The end of the first issue is definitely something of a cliffhanger that leverages the history of the xenomorphs as a way of putting Vampirella in a very uncomfortable position. Bechko's paces the story well and ticks off all the requisite checkboxes for a story about Aliens confronting a vampire. Garcia-Miranda's illustrations are sufficiently violent and ensure the characters aren't going to enjoy their visit to Mars. Aliens/Vampirella #1 is a pretty solid first issue that uses a very familiar Aliens story and injects a huge twist into it in the way of Vampirella.

Aliens/Vampirella #1 is in stores now.


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