Vampirella and the Scarlet Legion #4

A comic review article by: Ray Tate
Vampirella and former enemy Ethan Shroud teleport to South America and encounter tribal worshippers of Chaos. Pendragon, Adam Van Helsing and the Scarlet Legion discover more prophecy, and they follow everybody's favorite alien vampire.

Apart from the bit where Hecuba, one of the Sisterhood, goes viciously nuts in flashback, I haven't a clue to what's going on. Ostensibly, this issue is supposed to explain matters. It instead muddies the waters with two boring pages of DaVinci Code antics that pretend to give the exercise credibility. That mumbo-jumbo merely adds to the mound of obfuscation teetering under its own weight.

What I can say about the whole ordeal is that the chase appears to be some kind of trap set by Chaos. Zut alors! That doesn't explain why Vampirella's friends have suddenly turned on her. The Scarlet Legion, I can understand. They were always obsessed, but Pendragon is Vampirella's oldest friend.

You know the line. "You always hurt the one you love," but this is the point Harris should have revealed a rationale. Some dicey parchment detailing Vampirella's fearsome destiny isn't enough reason for Pendragon to abandon his history with Vee and so readily, with relish, take up the stake. I'm beginning to wonder if this really is Pendragon and not some Chaos doppelganger, a la Joss Whedon's the First Evil.

The reason for Adam Van Helsing's participation now becomes obvious. He joined the hunt for a scene where he can confront Vampirella and falsely escalate the drama into doomed romance territory. How craptastic. This wouldn't be quite so annoying if Joe Harris had the decency to explain Van Helsing's existence. One of Vampirella's enemies killed Van Helsing years ago. Vee actually met him again in hell. How did he get back to the mortal world?

The art of Jose Malaga and Rainer Petter issues old school goodness. The shadows and the overall realistic look imitates the feel of Sanjulian. Despite being spruced with color, Vampirella appears to have arisen from the pages of the Warren magazine. From a purely visual standpoint, it's as if the magazine never died.

It's unfortunate that Harris eschews a satisfying justification for all the out-of-character behavior and the resuscitation of Adam Van Helsing. Because without underlying motives, this deep into the game Vampirella and the Scarlet Legion is too contrived and too calculated to recommend.

Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.

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