Vampirella #13A comic review article by: Ray Tate
Last issue, something massacred a plane load of passengers, and left a message for Vampirella. Vee and her companion Sofia travelled to Russia in order to investigate. There she found her handler from the Vatican Schuld and Grigory, a demonic information broker, who appeared to betray the ladies by surrounding them with lycanthropes.
"So ripe she'll bend before she snaps."
Trautmann invigorates what could have been a dull build up issue, the sagging middle of the story that tells where the hero's going and what's going on. He also avoids relying on the violent set-piece that's a solution in the right hands but can also appear gratuitous and distinct from the whole.
Trautmann enervates the chapter by granting Vampirella victory through a very valuable boon, and this twist echoes back to numerous fairytales in which horrid little dwarves that spin gold do so for a trade. Vampirella is wealthy in the same way every immortal becomes wealthy, but demons seldom money. Vampirella antes a bargaining chip to save Sofia without risking either of their lives.
At the same time Jose Malaga makes this threat tactile. You really can see in your mind's eye how this situation could have gone tragic. Vampirella no doubt would have survived but Sofia would not. Malaga imbues the creatures with bottled ferocity and grants their master Grigory with such confidence that he helps convince you of Trautmann's promise. The villains could score.
Abdul Azhared's Little Brother Skippy
So what does Vampirella secure besides Sofia? Trautmann recalls Lovecraft by creating an occult grimoire and giving it a history with a mad monk, aided again by Malaga through the presentation of naked envy in the monk's eyes. The grimoire thought to be destroyed wasn't quite totally torched, and Grigory knows where some of the pieces are.
None of this Bagalia Bullshit
Trautmann does his research. Ani was a real Turkish city, and the information gleaned from Vampirella is all true--minus the supernatural of course, which incorporates a challenge for Jose Malaga. Make skeletons scary. In this time of zombie proliferation, I can't begin to describe how refreshing it is to see something old fashioned given new life, so to speak.
Them Bones, Them Bones, Them Dry Bones
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.