Review - Vampirella vs. ReAnimator #1 (@DynamiteComics)

"...some might say they deserved their fate."

Vampirella has fought just about any and all manner of evil--including the living and the dead. In Vampirella vs. Reanimator #1 from Dynamite Comics, her latest foe is a combination of the two. The issue is written by Cullen Bunn, illustrated and colored by Blacky Shepherd and lettered by Taylor Esposito.

It's the big question of 2018: How could Vampirella and the Reanimator not have met before now?!!?! Herbert West--the Reanimator--has long sought the secret to perfecting his reagent and break death's hold on mankind once and for all. The key to his success lies in only one place--the forbidden tomb of the Aztec god of death! But disturbing sleeping gods is as troubling (to put it mildly) as raising the uncontrollable, murderous dead... especially when this deity is an ancient enemy of Vampirella of Drakulon! It's vampire versus mad scientist in a battle that threatens to tear the gates of the underworld asunder!

It only makes sense that Vampirella would square off against a character such as the ReAnimator and Bunn does a subtly brilliant job of setting up the encounter. The issue is split into two tales, one that focuses on ReAnimator's quest to revive a long-dead queen and another that focuses on Vampirella doing her thing. Bouncing between both stories allows Bunn to effectively introduce the reader to both characters if they're not previously informed. And Bunn also handles the pacing well, moving things along quite nicely to get to the first issue cliffhanger. The dialogue is fairly simplistic, although Bunn uses the concise nature of it primarily as a means of emphasizing the brevity of both characters' personalities.

Shepherd made an interesting design choice by using just the pencils for the illustrations that embellish the book's pulp credentials. Shepherd could have just as easily made it feel more like a comic book, but the pencils approach is much more effective in terms of giving the book a sense of history. The panels would also otherwise seem very busy if Shepherd fully-rendered everything, but there's an inherent simplicity carried over from the simplistic illustrative style. The black and white style is made even more effective by Shepherd's choice to use red for instances of blood and gore. The red peppered throughout the issue is a stark contrast to the otherwise monochromatic nature of the book, even allowing Vampirella to stand out that much more.

Vampirella vs. Reanimator #1 is a very fundamental first issue that sets up the characters and the plot. Vampirella doesn't quite know what she's up against in the ReAnimator, but it's clear that the two will be an interesting match-up. Bunn's script is fast-moving and enjoyable, showing the traits of both of the main characters. Shepherd's illustrations eschew complexity for a starkness that adds to the book's atmosphere. Vampirella vs. Reanimator #1 offers a new tale for Vampirella that should be a lot of fun.

Vampirella vs. ReAnimator #1 is available December 12.