Vampirella #12A comic review article by: Ray Tate
In the Warren magazines, Vampirella operated as a supernatural sleuth, in the vein of Nancy Drew, albeit with less clothing. She would search the world and simply find danger. In the Harris comic books, Vampirella became a bona fide occult superhero like a scantily clad modern day Xena: Warrior Princess.
For Dynamite, writer Eric Trautmann once again updates Vampirella, as versatile a character as Wonder Woman, to make her a kind of occult spy. The Vatican works with Vampirella when necessary, and she an independent contractor uses their vast resources to fight the evils that seek world domination.
Trautmann furthermore takes the surprising but natural tactic of emphasizing that Vampirella is a vampire, perhaps an alien or interdimensional one, but a vampire nevertheless. There are a few distinctions. Vampirella does not burn in sunlight. In fact, she loves the sun. She's also quite alive, not undead, but other attributes of the vampire surface in Trautmann's books. For this issue, we see the frequently overlooked ability of a vampire to scale shear walls.
Giving New Meaning to Wall Crawling
Vampirella also sports some rather attractive and dangerous looking fangs -- a physical trait frequently downplayed in the magazine and the previous comic book volumes. Malaga in turn makes this exotic addition downright seductive thus lending weight to the vampire's hypnotic powers. Indeed, Malaga's art frequently echoes that of Esteban Maroto.
Whatever her form, Vampirella always sides with humanity, and it's that quirk that makes her a hero. When a plane lands without passengers or crew but plenty of bloody signs of mayhem, Russian officials find that they are out of their depth. Without hesitation, they alert the Vatican, and the Vatican calls in Vampirella.
Trautmann establishes Vee's and Sofia's characterization in one swift panel. He imbues Vampirella with a biting sense of humor that always breathes life into the dialogue.
As Vee investigates, she finds a new enemy in a contact prepared for her by her priest handler Schuld. The difference is that he has some backup that could be a problem for our heroine.
Essentially a setup issue, Trautmann's story is superior than others of the kind. He creates a sense of horror and mystery. With Malaga, he kicks off the tale through a display of action, rather than violence, and quickly and effectively introduces the cast without boring faithful fans.
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, where he 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.