Nancy A. Collins’s Vampirella started off well, with a 6-issue story arc involving the Lady of Shadows possessing the vampiric superhero and threatening an apocalypse. It was a straight horror story with some good character exploration, compelling twists and great art but had a bit of an anti-climactic ending. That’s not why I considered dropping the title; the main reason is that I just have too many other comics that I’m regularly reading (then again, several of them are ending soon). But with only 3 comics I was planning to pick up for sure, I decided to pick this one up too. I’m glad I did.
Vampirella 7 kicks off a new story arc in which someone has blended a supernatural curse with science, creating a contagious disease best described as super rabies. The spread starts in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the 7th largest city in the world. Meanwhile, Vampirella is still being introduced to a new world now that she’s inherited the Nosferatu throne through … unusual means. She’s shown a shadow organization called the Kabal, which is comprised of monsters trying to protect humanity from any kind of apocalyptic situation; because of course they need their food, right? A number of interesting concepts are blended into this issue’s story, and they could go in a number of directions. While all the exposition and the plague being introduced take up most of the comic’s time, there’s still a little bit of time to explore Vampirella’s values even if not in depth.
The art by Patrick Berkenkotter is great. Those who are infected by the supernatural plague have reddened eyes and black muck oozing from their mouths, giving a perfectly creepy visual to match the plague’s murderous ways. The aftermath of the initial slaughter is brutal, with a bus full of corpses and blood splatter. Characters are drawn with plenty of detail and are always easy to tell apart. The panel where Vampirella uses her hypnotic powers is appropriately creepy yet alluring at the same time.
Whether you’re into vampires or just horror in general, there’s a lot to like about this issue and it’s an easy recommendation. The Kabal mythology is fascinating and will likely contribute to what could be an intense story arc. If it keeps up the pace and avoids the anti-climactic ending, this should be good. I’m still not yet sure if I’ll stick with Vampirella (I usually keep my vampire fiction confined to movies and novels), but Collins is doing a good job at convincing me to stick with this title. In fact this might be my favourite comic of the week.