Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review - Vampirella #1969 (@DynamiteComics)


"Oh, my! This Earth is a place of chaos and turmoil! Drakulon was a dying planet, but this one may be even more dangerous."

Vampirella is one of the iconic characters of comics. She's interesting because she's become so iconic while not being a traditional superhero; rather, she relies on her horror ties as a means to make her unique. Dynamite Comics recognizes her contributions to the industry in Vampirella #1969, a throwback to the year she debuted. "'69" is written by Nancy A. Collins, illustrated by Fritz Casas and colored by Inlight Studios, "Mercy's Lullaby" is written by Eric Trautmann and illustrated by Brett Weldele, "Magic" is written by Phil Hester, illustrated by Jethro Morales and colored by Ilsight Studios, "The Beezelebums" is written by Mark Rahner and illustrated by Colton Worley and "Werewolves of Dixie" is written by David F. Walker, illustrated by Aneke and colored by Inlight Studios.

Vampirella first appeared on the scene in 1969 and quickly became a fixture of comics, horror and pop culture. Now, Dynamite Entertainment proudly presents a special, over-sized issue celebrating those heady days with a who's who from their roister of all-star writers and artists.

The enduring nature of Vampirella as a character is what really makes Vampirella #1969 work so well. Pitting Vampirella as a misunderstood character in a setting as turbulent as the 60s is a fascinating choice and works exceptionally well--especially as a celebration of the character. The authors do an excellent job of referencing her general demeanor when faced with adversity while at the same time preserving her sense of honor that makes her loyal. Vampirella has always been about her attempting to control the demon within her and Vampirella #1969 doesn't lose sight of that. In fact, that transformation is the catalyst for a few of the tales in the issue that prove truly terrifying to those she encounters.

The artwork in Vampirella #1969 is varied. Casas' work in "'69" feels the most traditional when it comes to Vampirella illustrations and Casas presents her with an era-appropriate look. The look of "Mercy's Lullaby" by Weldele is probably the most eerie out of the collection, as it relies on a very minimalist style that emphasizes the shading more than anything. The look in "Magic" by Morales feels like a comic book and relies on panel arrangements befitting the magic theme of the story. Worley's work in "The Beezlebums" looks like colored sketches, as Worley doesn't emphasize too much in the way of character detail or features. The "Werewolves of Dixie" does a lot with crowds and Aneke mixes in a slew of werewolves for good measure that feel ferocious.

Vampirella #1969 is a very interesting retrospective on the character that maintains her reputation as a capable and cunning heroine. She makes her way through whatever environment surrounds her with a focus on righting wrongs and protecting the innocent. The writers in Vampirella #1969 all rely on those tenets as backbones of the issue, reminding the reader why Vampirella is such a long-lasting character. The artwork is varied in Vampirella #1969, even though it all gravitates to the aforementioned character traits. Vampirella #1969 is a great homage to a great character by emphasizing what it is that makes her so fascinating.

Vampirella #1969 is in store November 25.

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