Vampirella #8

A comic review article by: Ray Tate
Vampirella and Sofia go traveling to investigate the chain of deaths caused by a very unusual supernatural menace. In other words, "Same old life." Vampirella was always a traveler. You never knew where she would show up, but when vampiric or demonic evil struck, Vampirella wouldn't be too far behind.

This new age of Vampirella that Eric Tratumann stikes includes a modern, nondescript SUV, weaponry and information provided by a mysterious source. Such weaponry tends to be of the sharp and shiny variety that Frank Miller's Batman started but quit using. Vampirella's silvery shurikens are becoming her new signature as well as her fetching outfit geared toward subterfuge rather than distraction. Her traditional uniform has it's place in these new myths, but the more mature Vampirella sees a need for blending in, rather than posing as a magician's assistant.

With Sofia at her side, you can see a pattern of need. Sofia reminds Vampirella why she fights for humanity, and her nervous prattle amuses the eternal vampire. Vee needs Sofia not for blood or sex but just to bring her down to earth. It's very easy to see how Vampirella could lose herself to the fight. The menaces she already faced included a worm god nearly as old as the universe and her archnemesis Dracula. Vee shares more kinship with the monsters she slays than humanity.

For this issue, the creatures are imaginative eerie creations similar to the Gentlemen from the Emmy-nominated Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Hush," and they've heard of Vampirella, which means Vee can't rely on the element of surprise.

The design of the monsters, the crucifixion murders and the absolutely gorgeous and realistic artwork of Fabiano Nieves follow the tradition of adult horror established by the Warren Magazine originals. The saturation of illustration with a color palette that evokes a night lit by out of the way gas stations emulates the backwoods, rural isolationist horror begat by Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Vampirella is a unique, horror heroine, a neoclassic monster fighter more in the vein of Kolchak the Night Stalker than the sun-sparkle vampires that have taken over the genre. If you appreciate horror, but a work with a ray of hope, check out the latest volume of Vampirella.

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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