Review: Vampirella (Vol. 4) #1

Following on from the teaser zero issue from a few weeks back, this first issue of the Vampi re-imaging starts, setting the new world order in which our heroine must struggle to come to terms with.

Released from her very own bat-cave, Vampi is set about be a bunch of hawkmen types.  Think Vulton of Flash Gordon, but without the charm.  As the battle escalates, Vampi makes for the bright lights and not so big city of LA.  Here, oblivious to the dangers she puts people in, a new set of clothes is acquired then its off into the city to debate lifestyles and the nightlife which hides its own secrets and fleshy desires.

Paul Cornell may well be smoking something with this book, which is great for him, but means the rest of us have to give this book a couple of reads to make sense of some of the goings on.  Even after a couple of go’s, there are still things that seem more than odd.  In a similar vein as the Red Sonja re-image, the main character spends quite a bit of time chewing the exposition with no-one but the reader to hear it.  As a style, its slightly annoying in places, but for the most part, Vampi’s confusion matches our own.  Dialogue wise, being as we are in a “new world” there is a new linguistic element to decipher; it may not be as catchy as “Billy don’t shiv” but there is a certain resonance in play that works well, adding a strong contrast to Vampi’s more direct approach.

The art by Jimmy Broxton has a 70’s feel to it, at least in the beginning, before moving into a sort of Ru Paul to the Max (great title for a show!), sort of affair.  The future it seems belongs to the neon dazzle of happy shiny, phallus bragging people, who seem to live for their sexual appetites.  With that said, there isn’t a lot of flesh on show, no particular gender or sexuality is degraded in any shape or form.  For that Broxton has had to work hard.  Still all things considered, the book does have an almost 2000AD look and feel to it.  For all the style Broxton brings to the art, it is probably safe to say that his colors are perfect, possibly the strongest part of the art.  The caverns are darkness incarnate with the city’s brightness seemingly as unnatural as any horror tinged environment.

Cornell and Broxton do a great job of re-invigorating Vampi with a 70’s vibe of wonder throughout.  It’s a brave choice indeed, as is the fashion choice which I have to admit, does work well.  On a side bar, I didn’t realise that the original Vampi outfit included hosiery?  Despite the many brave choices on show, I am a tad disappointed at the amount of “censored” elements, which is as drawn by Broxton.  In my mind, as the book is aimed at teen plus why is there a need for the “censor” button at all?  Stand by the strength of the art.  As a company, Dynamite have flirted with art that pushes boundaries, do I even have to mention the storm in  a “D cup” over their Vampi bondage variant cover? If Dynamite didn’t want the characters to look a certain way then surely that is what editors are for?  Equality would states that characters are created equal.  I am wholly disappointed that in comics it’s ok to have lesbian bugs make out (InSEXts), yet somehow there is a feeling that the male appendage needs censoring.  I am not saying that I would particularly go looking for a book full of  phalluses, but fair is fair!  If you are showing Vampi’s boobs being fondled in  sex club then at least have the courage of your writing/artistic convictions.

As it is, the constant tags drive me to distraction and do the job of watering down the book, limiting the effectiveness of both the writing and the art.

Writing – 4 Stars
Art – 3 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars

Standing by Your Work – 0 Stars

Writer: Paul Cornell
Art: Jimmy Broxton

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