Vampirella: Second Coming #1-3


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Vampirella: Second Coming #1-3


  • Words: Phil Hester
  • Art: Daniel Sampere & Al Rio
  • Colors: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
  • Publisher: Harris Comics
  • Price: $1.99
  • Release Date: Sep 8, 2009

The premise of the story is unheard of in terms of Vampirella Mythology:

“Vampirella is not real. She is an icon of sensuality and power, a viral on the internet, a tattoo, a comicbook and graffiti on a wall. A group of women band together to celebrate Vampirella and while a virus ravages every man in Washington, the band of sisters feel a call and unite..."

My first reaction was "What do you mean, Vampirella is not real!!??". Which of course is silly, since the only 'real' Vampirellas have been famous names like Sascha Knopf, Maria Di Angelis, Scream Queen Julie Strain and Kitana Baker (more to be seen at http://vampimodel.boomvavavoom.com/ and http://www.vampilore.co.uk/models.html).

But my love for the character and my positive encounters with the current editor made me trustworthy and not at all hesitant to try this exciting new premise. And the amazing team, set up by editor Bon Alimagno with writer Phil Hester and artists Daniel Sampere and pinup-specialist Al Rio did most surely deliver! Even the supportive team members (colorist Romulo Fajardo, Jr. and letterer Ed Dukeshire) did their best to both leave their mark as well as making sure the complete team effort runs smoothly. Editor Alimagno also made sure that cover work would be done by amazing well-known artists like Joe Jusko and Arthur Suydam, but also amazing new talent like Ryan Stegman and Franchesco! And if that does not attract the attention, then what about having a 4-issue mini-series with a cover-price set at a staggering $1.99 and also without any interior advertisements! How could this ever go wrong??!!

Well...to be honest; it would go wrong because old fans, new fans, retailers and the general reading and buying public will frown upon the title. When they will remain ignorant of the character based on the visuals of the costume...

They should be listening to the sounds of fans and reviewers alike, who glorify almost every attempt at publishing a story with this sexy character in it and who are only interested in the high and intense quality of the art team.

So how about this very story? A story without Vampirella, but only about Vampirella and her legion of followers?

The story by award-winning Phil Hester has it all: captivating characters who each have plenty and meaningful dialogues, dynamic action and enough eye-candy to have every fan of this visual medium captivated till the end of each issue.

Having read issues #1, #2 and most of #3, already I can say that the quality really takes the reader in at every turn.

Issue #1 sets the stage to a world without a physical Vampirella and the way 'real' people react to the icon named Vampirella. It lets us see a world in which women are caring, strong and honest, but where men are easily deceived by power and chaos. A world without Vampirella, which is being overrun by the minions of Lord Gore; a demon from the Chaos-dimension who was left behind when Vampirella and Lord Chaos died.

Issue #2 shows us the stain that Gore is leaving on the world and the main characters, mostly via indirect televised reports of brutal slaying and conversations about martial law. It also explains what happened in the past and what will be the Chaotic plan to be set in motion and how Vampirella, via her own army of female followers, will try to fight the "bad things," as it were.

Issue #3 more than previous issues seems to put women against men, order versus chaos, love versus hate and good versus evil. This message alone should persuade everyone interested in equality of the sexes to at least take a look at the series and judge by means of story and not judge by the way Vampirella's army dresses! #3 also shows a lot of all-out action which is still supported by a lot of story, contributing to the visuals as well as creating a distance between the visuals and the reader in which the reader is not overwhelmed by the Chaos that is happening.

Halfway during #2 the art chores are taken over by Al Rio.
My previous encounters with Rio's art have been somewhat mixed. While I adore his pinups, his covers and his detailed commissions, I had an opposite feeling about his sequential art. It did not have a good flow and composition, in my opinion. But the pages in Vampirella impressed me. Not only is there an almost seamless transition in story/art, the reader will also see the sequential storytelling is on par with the previous pages and even adds more detail to facial expressions in action sequences and cheesecake moments. Obviously all the hard work of the various teams gave Vampirella fans the possibility to see his best work to date!

Now, this raving all seems like I am a Vampirella fan who is reviewing my favorite character, published by my favorite publishing house with lots of my favorite artists. Well...that is a correct assumption. But besides thát fact, I can see how the art, story and publishing is dealing with my favorite character...and that should make you understand my raving! If they did not treat my beloved 'Rella the way she should be treated, then I would be all over them! This series has quality written all over it! In crimson letters!

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