Vampirella #4 (Comics Review)

The new Vampirella series is everything that I could ask of it and more. Nancy A. Collins and Patrick Berkenkotter have gotten off to a great start with the first three issues as they put Vampirella through her paces against a sort of enemy that she has never fought before. There’s a fair bit of originality in the story and the real fun part is seeing all the different kinds of vampires cooked up by the creative team, from the traditional to the monsters and freaks. To be honest, this is a damn good title, whether we talk story or art, and that in itself is something to celebrate..

In the new issue from this past week, Vampirella’s quest to find the rarest vampires in the world and drink their blood continues as she travels to the Greek island of Lamos this time, on the hunt for a vampire called the Lamia. The Lamiae are a very different breed of vampire than the usual ones, being a part of Greek mythological lore even, and this time Vampirella has to seek some… outside help. The story was as engrossing as always and Collins really brought out the dark humour of the book, even as Berkenkotter and Co. continued to deliver on some great visuals of Vampirella and the monsters.

Last month, Vampirella was deep in the jungles of Thailand, hunting for a vampire of the Krasue species. This time, she hunts a Lamia in Greece, and the hunt is altogether different from before. Now she is up against a very, very old vampire, someone who has been around for nearly three thousand years. What I really like about this arc is that each issue focuses on a different kind of vampire and with each new monster, Collins increases the level of difficulty. Granted, this is early days yet for this arc, but I liked that hunting for the Lamia proved to be a more complicated task than hunting for the Krasue. The basic story structure is the same, but given the changes in details, it means that this was more unique and more interesting as well.

I’ve mentioned before that Collins’ characterization of Vampirella is really good. Her Vampirella jokes around easily, and loves to banter with Drago, though sometimes it is the shadow of Umbra herself speaking through her, rather than the warrior. It creates an interesting dynamic in the story and I liked the subtle undertones it contained about Vampirella’s own nature. That’s where Collins really hit the nail on the head I think, because I’m loving what she is doing with Vampirella. The series really couldn’t have been in better hands I dare say.

Of course, Vampirella isn’t the only character here. Her nosferatu ally Drago is also proving to be more interesting as the series progresses and I’m growing to become quite suspicious of his motives here. Here is Drago, limited by some of his species’ greatest weaknesses such as not being able to walk in the sun. And then there’s the warrior Vampirella, going around killing powerful vampires and drinking their blood to gain a measure of their power. The implications of what he has Vampirella doing are great, and I’m excited to see where his subplot leads to. I’m sure that it isn’t going to be pretty or goody two-shoes at all.

There’s also Drago’s butler Coleridge, who really is quite funny at times, though the character himself remains stoic and unmoved at the best of times. He got a little screentime in this issue and I liked that since it added to his character, who has been a blank till now, for the most part.

As before, Berkenkotter is the penciller with Dennis Crisostomo on inks, Jorge Sutil on colours and Rob Steen on letters with Terry Dodson turning out another beautiful cover. There are a few panels where Berkenkotter’s characterwork suffers because of unlikely body proportions, but in the main, I loved his detailed pencils. And also the fact that he has put in some nice subtle touches such as the Mark of Lilith on Vampirella, which charts her progress in becoming a proper vessel for Umbra. And the colours and inks are both solid all the way through so no complaints there.

Great issue once again!

Rating: 9/10

More Vampirella: (Vampirella Strikes) #1; #1, #2-3.


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