Vampirella may be over 45 years old from its original publication in the late 1960s, but Dynamite Entertainment has had rights since 2010 submitting many new installments along the way. Now several miniseries, one shots, and ongoing monthlies later, they have reached their 100th issue. What better way to celebrate than to unleash an anthology style tome utilizing many of the writers who have been a part of that rich and bloody heritage over the past few years since Dynamite’s run. And that is exactly what they have done. Vampirella #100 features the writing skills of Vampirella veterans Eric Trautman, Brandon Jerwa, and Mark Rahner with a nice bookend set up for Vampi virgin newcomer Tim Seely and most recent All New Vampirella writer Nancy A. Collins to complete this five-story, 48 page issue. Add in artistic stylings of Jim Terry, Dave Acosta, Gabriel Mayorga, Javier Garcia-Miranda, and Francesco Manna and you get a nice volume of delectable stories that you can sink your teeth into.
Overall, this issue is a mixed bag in its presentation and storytelling, featuring some good writing as well as some not so good writing with equally portioned artwork with the good and not so good presentation spaced throughout. The good portions are real good, allowing the reader to feel emotion and really working to take fans of our vampi vixen on a stroll down classic territory from its original more humble publications in the 1960s as well as its strong renewal run during the 1980s.
Hands down, my favorite story in the issue is the first one written by Sundowners creators Tim Seely and Jim Terry. You can tell that these two have a good knack in working with each other and it shows as this dream/reality sequence following Vampirella’s beginning origins as a resident of the Planet Draculon and featuring a nice mix of black and white and bold color art, it allows the reader to get a strong feel of the original Vampirella and what she is all about... dangerous, delightful, and deadly. It is a good tribute and sets a strong pace for the other stories to follow.
Unfortunately from there, the pace drops down until the ending tales. Trautman’s story, The Vodnik, is so-so at best being brought up to some degree by artist Dave Acosta’s drawings as Vampirella enters into some games of chance with Lubos, a Vodnici or better known as a Czech Water Troll who is a literal troll under a bridge. The story is slow and the ending predictable, but Acosta really draws deep and puts a little bit of umph into it. Just not near the level of the first story however.
The next tale entitled A Closer Walk with Thee is the worst of the bunch as Vampirella finds herself at a graveyard searching for answers and a little bit of justice. We are put on a guessing game by writer Brandon Jerwa as to what is happening until the very end, but nothing really is too terribly surprising. What is surprising and not in a good way with this story are the renderings of art provided by Gabriel Mayorga. Vampirella herself looks like her muscles are in a perpetual cramping mode and the other renderings simply don’t instill much emotion. It feels kind of draining even though the moral is noble in the end.
With the story Kovak the Night Walker written by Mark Rahner and drawn by Javier Garcia-Miranda, we are invited into a story of memory by famed retired (and possibly crazy) reporter Cal Kovak. Kovak is being interviewed by the FBI recounting his adventures on the street and his battles with the supernatural. This story is a tribute to the short-lived cult classic TV show Kolchak: The Night Stalker which has been noted as a big inspiration for Chris Carter’s much more successful X Files franchise. Here, we get both as you just know our unknown FBI agents are (possibly) Fox Mulder and Dana Scully even though they are in shadow mostly and the female agent appears to have black hair (Hey, I can be hopeful can’t I?). The tribute hit me hard as I am a fan of both shows and the art has a hard-boiled look to it that flows well from the vein of Vampirella of the 1980s. I liked this one a lot. The nostalgia swallowed me whole.
The last story is written by current Vampirella writer Nancy A. Collins and drawn by Francesco Manna and it is classic horror. We follow a couple coming home from a movie in a remote village along a jungle like trail. The set up is classic and we get a healthy heaping dosage of vampiric demon babies that will keep you on edge. Vampirella has been dispatched by the locals to take care of this little menace that has been reported as bandits terrorizing the people. Things are much worse however and we watch the events unfold until the brutal end.
Like the All New Vampirella, Collins writes the character as confident and strong, taking care of her business with Manna providing the high contrast and bold colored art that has been a hallmark of the new monthly run.
Once all is said and done, I think that Vampirella #100 captures the many faces that lurk above the traditional “in your face” look of our lady. She has a rich history that is portrayed decently enough. Though not all of the stories are exactly great, there is enough here to allow entertainment for the reader and it is a nice piece for the die-hard fans of the character as well as new readers who might be looking to see what this dark-haired lady with the skimpy costume is all about.
Writer(s): Tim Seely, Eric Trautman, Brandon Jerwa, Mark Rahner, and Nancy A. Collins Artist(s): Jim Terry, Dave Acosta, Gabriel Mayorga, Javier Garcia-Miranda, and Francesco Manna Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $7.99 Release Date: 1/21/15 Format: One-Shot; Print/Digital