In Review: Vengeance of Vampirella #1

Not much Vampirella as this issue is setting the stage for her return, but I do want more.

The covers: There are fifty-seven covers for the fans of the fanged fury to find. Good luck, collectors! First up is the A by Joshua Middleton which has the reader looking down at the title character on a gray background as she relishes a recent feast as shown by the blood on her hands and mouth. Tasty! The B by Frank Cho and Sabine Rich has Vampirella with arms wide hovering above a large yellow disc held by two angels. There is a giant pink V between her and the disc, with four skulls and several bats at her feet. A ram’s head is upon some roses in a box that sports the word LIFE. Ben Oliver has created a beautiful C cover that has Vampirella from the chest up with her hands at her neck. A pair of bats in white silhouette fly in the lower left. Really gorgeous. The D by Lucio Parillo is a killer of a cover. With her back to the reader, Vampirella is fierce sitting on the ground with a skeleton in the foreground. She shows her left hand which has elongated nails covered in blood which matches the fluid running from her mouth. Behind her is a dark sky full of bats and the body of a golem rising up on the right. Wonderfully wicked. Joanie Brosas photographed by Saffels is stunning on the E Cosplay Variant cover. Posed like the classic cover with a bat perched on the end of her right hand. This is without question perfection. The 10 Copy Incentive by Buzz has Vampy standing in a unending sea of demonic body parts. She holds two severed heads of the creatures low in her right hand, while her left is raised to show her nails have become claws. She’s standing before a giant moon that has a ton of bats flying out of it on either side of her. Very nice. The 20 Copy Incentive, B&W Sketch Variant, by Oliver is the same as the C, just in black and white. Also very nice. The 30 Copy Incentive, “Virgin” Cosplay Variant is the same as the E, just without any text. Equally impressive. The 40 Copy Incentive “Blood Moon” Variant by Buzz is the same as the 10 Copy Incentive Variant he did, thought the moon and the sky are now red. The 50 Copy Incentive B&W Line Art Variant by Cho is the same as the B, without colors. You can’t go wrong with any work by Cho. The 75 Copy Incentive Icon Edition by Jae Lee features a previously cover in a gold frame. Vampirella is on her knees, looking at the reader, with her rear on view. In the foreground are several red lit candles. Nice, but I’m wondering how she’s able to achieve this pose. The 100 Copy Incentive Icon Edition by Joe Quesada is also a previously published cover, this one has Vampirella up to her chest in blood that she hungrily drinks from a gray gargoyle that spews the liquid down. Messy, but good! The Atlas Signature Edition by Oliver, signed by Tom Sniegoksi, is the same as the C, though with the Atlas band at the top and the signature at the bottom. Nice. The Blank Authentix cover features only the title at the top and the number and publisher in the lower right corner. This is perfect to get a unique sketch by a favorite artist or get all the creators to sign. I like these covers, but am not found of them blank. The Limited Edition “Virgin” Variant by Middleton is the A without text, as is the Limited Edition “Virgin” Variant by Cho and Rich, and the Limited Edition “Virgin” Variant by Oliver, and the Limited Edition “Virgin” Variant by Parrillo. There’s an Ultra-Limited Edition Red Foil Variant by Middleton which is the same as the A but with a red foil logo. The Ultra-Limited Edition Fiery Red Line Art Variant by Cho is the B in red ink. The FOC Incentive “Virgin” Blood Moon Variant by Buzz is a textless red sky cover. The FOC Incentive “Virgin” B&W Pencil Sketch Variant by Oliver is textless and in black and white. The FOC Incentive “Virgin” Tinted Sketch Variant by Oliver is textless and in red pencil. The FOC Incentive “Virgin” B&W Line Art Variant by Cho is self explanatory. The Exclusive cover from Scorpion Comics by Clayton Crain has Vampirella standing on a crypt in a graveyard with her back to the reader, though turned to confront him or her. A huge moon is behind her with several bats flying low. The sky is a dark red. Really nice! The Exclusive cover by Sad Lemon Comics by Ula Mos is one to track down! She holds a glass of blood, not wine, in her right hand and her left is on her hip. Behind her are several steps with an open door creating a beautiful purple and pink. A lone bat flies in the upper right corner. Seriously, one to find! The Exclusive cover by Kendrick Lim “Kunkka” for Scorpion Comics features the title character sitting far back on a red surface. She strokes a bat-dragon creature whose head reaches over her. Creepy and pretty! The Exclusive cover by Carla Cohen for Frankie’s Comics has Vampirella in some dark water with her hands covering each of her breasts. Well, there you go. Mark Sparacio does an Exclusive cover for Unknown Comics that has the vampire arching her back in ecstasy as blood runs from her mouth and her claw-like hands are covered in red. Her ebony hair blows to the right and the yellow background contains a monstrous skull that mirrors her scream. The Unknown Comics Exclusive cover by Anna Zhou is a new take on the classic Todd McFarlane cover to Amazing Spider-Man #300 with Vampirella in the classic pose. Very cool and very funny. Unknown Comics also has Kael Ngu do an Exclusive cover looking up at the title character from down low. She’s in a pool of blood that’s up to her knees. Orange flame behind her highlights her body in her iconic costume. A severed demon’s head is in her hands. YES! The AOD Collectibles Exclusive cover by Giampaolo Casarini is in black and white showing the character with both arms up before a full moon. Nice, but black and white? Buzz returns for Unknown Comics Exclusive Connected cover A, which connects with Unknown Comics Exclusive Connected cover B. When connected a red bat logo that contains faces of past characters constitutes the background. The A has Vampirella racing at the reader and the B has her topless with her arms crossed before her chest. Both are good. The two Imphotographics Exclusive covers by Chrissie Zullo feature a cartoony Vampy with wings walking before a cloudy blue sky with a full moon. The Second one is the same art, just without text. I can’t recommend these. I can recommend the Port City Comics Exclusive cover by Steven Butler. Crouched down and looking to the right, Vampirella is on a giant spiderweb filled with skulls. The sky is red, filled with several bats and a full moon. I really like this. Sabine Rich does the Exclusive cover for Comic Kingdom of Canada and I also really like this. Shown from the knees up, the vampiress runs her hands through her head with blood writhing around her body to create gory wings and taint the moon red. Stunning! The Elite Comics cover features Ryan Kincaid’s work on their Exclusive cover. Vampirella sits naked in the right, with blood dripping down her chest and down her back to slightly cover her flesh. She smiles at the reader and a tremendous skull fills in the top left side. Not great, but not horrible. Hot Flips has an Exclusive cover by Joseph Michael Linsner that’s a winner: a classy Vampy has her hands on her shoulder with a circle behind her that contains the moon and two bats. The background goes from gray to white as the reader looks down. Wonderful! Mike Mayhew does two Exclusive covers sold through his website. Wearing less than usual, though sporting long red gloves and a matching cape, Vampirella tilts her head back. Her hands are behind her head as lightning explodes behind her, a mist almost reaches her knees, and a small mountain with a castle on top is at the right. Comic Odyssey has a pair of Exclusives done by Jay Anacleto that are worth getting. Posed almost similarly to the classic Frazetta cover, her right hand is on her hip, and her left is at her neck. A skull is on the ground on either side of her and a monstrous full moon featuring a creepy face. Anacleto needs to be doing more work! Not to be outdone, Hooked on Comics has a twosome from Edward Willaims, but these are not good. In a bathtub of blood, Vampirella’s chest is barely submerged and a lone kneed protrudes from the red fluid. A glass of red liquid is behind her on the left and on the right are two candles. A skull spews the red into the tub. This does not look good. Bill McCay does the Exclusive for Epiko Comics which has Vampriella in a cave up to her knees in blood. She holds a skull in each hand with crimson coming out of them. This is another to find. Kirby’s Comic Art/Trinity Comics features artwork by Dan Quintata on their Exclusive cover and it’s also a wowser! This is the Vampire Queen! Vampirella has on a canvas colored cape featuring a bat wing collar that is taller than her head. Crimson colored bats fly from the upper right to the lower left brightening the delicious castle setting. Vampirella is gorgeous on Ash Madi’s Exclusive cover that graces the book sold at Alternative Worlds Comics. This is a close-up of Vampirella sitting in small puddle of blood holding a heart in her left hand smugly. Very cool. Two Exclusives cover by Buzz can be found at JustBuzz.com. They’re the same blood moon covers as discussed earlier, though in black and white. The first features text and the second is textless. Famio Valle has done the Exclusive cover for Comicxposure. This has a cute Vampirella smiling as she points at a skull whose open mouth makes it seem as though it’s talking to her. The white background has blood splashed on its bottom half. Cute and creepy and one to find. Imphotographics/Albert Moy are sharing an Exclusive cover by Sam Keith. I’ve never been a fan of Keith’s art and this one doesn’t change my opinion. An overweight Vampirella has a skinny left arm before her face. Hard pass. Roberto Castro has a pair of Exclusives from Jetpack Comics/Forbidden Planet and they, too, are ones to get. The title character is sitting on a wicked steel throne with large demons on either side of her. Two other frights are at her feet. Yellow magic whips behind her to showcase a screaming werewolf face. One features the title in the center and the other is textless. Neal Adams has an Exclusive cover for sale through his website NealAdams.com. This black and white image has a gigantic one eyed creature reaching down to grasp our protagonist with a four fingered hand. More monster than vampire, sadly. The final Exclusive cover (HOORAY!) is by Nathan Szerdy for Comics Elite. A naked Vampirella is walking from the right to left, covered in blood that covers her shoulders, arms, hands, side, legs, and rear. A full moon is in the upper right and sky is red. There’s a lot of skin on this. Overall grades: A A, B A+, C A+, D A+, E A+, 10 Copy Incentive B+, 20 Copy Incentive A, 30 Copy Incentive A+, 40 Copy Incentive B, 50 Copy Incentive A+, 75 Copy Incentive B-, 100 Copy Incentive B-, Atlas Signature Edition A, Blank Authentix cover C, Limited Edition Variant Middleton A, Limited Edition Variant Cho A+, Limited Edition Variant Oliver A, Limited Edition Variant Parrillo A+, Ultra-Limited Edition Red Foil Variant A, Ultra-Limited Edition Fiery Red Line Art Variant A+, FOC Incentive Buzz B, FOC Incentive “Virgin” B&W Pencil Sketch Variant A, FOC Incentive “Virgin” Tinted Sketch Variant A, FOC Incentive “Virgin” B&W Line Art Variant A+, Scorpion Comics Exclusive Crain A, Sad Lemon Comics Exclusive A+, Scorpion Comics Exclusive Lim A+, Frankie’s Comics Exclusive C+, Unknown Comics Exclusive Sparacio A, Unknown Comics Exclusive Zhou B, Unknown Comics Exclusive Ngu A, AOD Collectibles Exclusive C+, Unknown Comics Exclusive Connected A A, Unknown Comics Exclusive Connected B A, Imphotographics Exclusives C-, Port City Comics Exclusive A, Comic Kingdom of Canada Exclusive A+, Elite Comics Exclusive C-, Hot Flips Exclusive A+, Mike Mayhew Exclusives A+, Comic Odyssey Exclusives A+, Hooked on Comics Exclusives D-, Epiko Comics Exclusive A, Kirby’s Comic Art/Trinity Comics Exclusive A+, Alternative Worlds Comics Exclusive A, JustBuzz.com Exclusives C, Comicxposure Exclusive A+, Imphotographics/Albert Moy Exclusive D-, Jetpack Comics/Forbidden Planet Exclusive A+, NealAdams.com Exclusive B, and Comics Elite Exclusive Szerdy B-

NOTE: Given how much space the cover reviews took up, I’m going to be extremely brief with the review of the book.

The story: This opening issue by Thomas Sniegoski establishes what’s been happening since Vampirella was killed years ago. Ruled by Nyx, the world has gone to literal hell, with demons and monsters taking citizens left and right. There is a legend that one day Vampirella will return and this issue builds up to that. I was confused by the two characters in space, but I’m sure that I’ll be filled in once the resurrected heroine meets this pair. A lot of build, but I’m interested enough to return for more. Overall grade: B-

The art: The artwork by Michael Sta. Maria is good. I enjoyed the opening page that brings the reader into this devastated world. The second page won me over with a full-paged splash on the second page that has the protagonist standing on a massive pile of demon bodies with her looking gorgeous. Nyx is also beautiful on Page 3, though she’s covered in blood. The final panel on 4 is great, as is the last panel on 5. The tomb on 7 looks awesome. The design and layout of 13 makes this setting and character epic. Truly, this is how to introduce a villain. Pages 21 and 22 are the perfect way to visually end the issue and they are enough to make me want to see more. Overall grade: A- 

The colors: I was impressed with Omi Remalante Jr.’s work. This story has every right to be completely dark and dreary with colors, but Remalante does an excellent job in making every element of the art stand out while still giving the book a dark tone. I like that the narration boxes are yellow, allowing them to stand out in the dark locales. The science fiction characters and settings are full of whites, violets, and beetle greens. Overall grade: A-

The letters: Troy Peteri creates scene settings, dialogue, mental communications, and sounds. I cannot say how much I enjoyed the dialogue on this book. It’s unique, it flows, and it’s elegant, resembling something out of a fairy tale. The scene settings are big thick block letters that slam the reader into the locations. The mental communications are an italicized form of the dialogue and I was happy that it was in a different font — the sign of a good letterer. The sounds were few, as this is a story building issue, but what did appear was pretty keen. Overall grade: A

The final line: Not much Vampirella as this issue is setting the stage for her return. I was interested by the story, though I didn’t exactly understand what was going on. I really liked every element of the visuals: art, colors, and letters. I’m definitely coming back for more to see how the title character is going to save this world from Nyx. Overall grade: A-

To order a print copy go to https://dynamite.com/htmlfiles/viewProduct.html?PRO=C72513028475401011

To order a digital copy go to https://dynamite.com/digital/viewProduct.html?PRO=C72513028475401011=1

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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