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Vampirella/Red Sonja #5 Review

3 min read
drifting through from club to club and bed to bed

A little solo time with Vampirella.

Creative Staff:
Story: Jordie Bellaire
Art: Drew Moss
Colors: Rebecca Nalty
Letterer: Becca Carey

What They Say:
NEW YORK, 1969. It’s trashy. It’s punk. It’s dangerous. Vampirella LOVES IT. What was it like when Vampi first got to Earth? Take a trip, with JORDIE BELLAIRE (Buffy) and DREW MOSS (Star Wars).

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With this being something of an open-ended series that’s pairing two great characters together, taking the time to essentially do a one-off story of Vampirella is welcome. I’ve really enjoyed what Jordie Bellaire has brought to the project in terms of pacing so far and leaning into her early days as she starts to change is definitely handled well. Not to take away from Bellaire’s script, however, Drew Moss and Rebecca Nalty absolutely kill this book. They’ve been strong from the start but just the opening pages along and the flow of the panels in later montage sequences, it’s just gorgeous. The colors are so vibrant I found myself wishing for an oversized coffee table book already. It’s a gorgeous work here that does Vampi right.

Going for the early days of her in New York City in ‘69, we see how she’s really enjoying what she’s learning of humanity so far. The music, the dancing, the night life, and especially the women. She’s moving from bed to bed in enjoying the journey of it all while keeping details about herself to a real minimum. She comes a little closer with one woman but it’s not something either really wants to get into. There are issues explored in light here early on involving racism and the struggles of women of color in the big city but it avoids being blunt about it yet is still blunt. It works right because it’s something that Vampirella is completely oblivious to from her own kind and not something she’s discovered here yet, having not really done her research.

When she does start learning more of this and hitting the street to get a better handle on it, it’s the moment where she realizes she can be a little something more here. It’s not like she’s suddenly got a superhero origin story or anything but she pulls out the old outfit and gets to tracking those who are engaging in human trafficking. This is definitely right up her alley and seeing her going all in dealing with this. It’s nice and stealthy in the midst of night – and along a pier no less – and seeing the cold and brutal Vampirella we all know so well is just exciting to watch. Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to the aftermath of it and the thanks she gets, but it helps to showcase the complications of life on Earth. What we do get is something that shows just how she began to really care for this world that she’s now settling in on and doing more than just drifting through it from club to club and bed to bed.

In Summary:
I’m definitely enjoying this series overall, and all the other projects for both characters, but delivering this kind of Vampirella in 1969 before things get serious was absolutely what I needed. This book is just gorgeous throughout, especially those opening pages in the club, and I loved the details of her painting Sonja without realizing it as a kind of sign and portent of what’s to come. Bellaire gives us a solid character defining story for Vampirella while Moss and Nalty put some of the most beautiful series of images to the page that I’ve seen in a long time. I hope for a lot more of this.

Grade: A

Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: January 15th, 2020
MSRP: $3.99

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