REVIEW: K.I.S.S / Vampirella #1

I’m a huge fan of classic Vampirella, though I’ve never had the courage or the, uh, assets to cosplay her. I’ve never been into Kiss and don’t know much about them except they have an extraordinary amount of merchandise and occasionally make music.

Christopher Sebela starts the story off in the year 1974, though the reader wouldn’t know it from the way people are dressed or the setting, aside from the lack of cells phones. We’re quickly introduced to Vampirella, though the only thing recognizable about her is those lovely signature straight bangs. Annapaola Martello’s rendition of Vampi is absolutely superb, and she looks quite different from any other artist’s version of her I’ve seen before, mainly in her facial features. And can I just say how completely elated I am that she doesn’t have balloons stuck to her chest and some crazy impossible anatomy that isn’t even in the realm of “attractive”? Even an alien vampire needs to have some limits, respect the woman, damnit!

Vampirella still has her classic backstory and the same powers, but in this story she plays guitar in a band called Witchkraft, an all-female rock band that I wish was real. I really love the character design of the band, and Valentina Pinto’s coloring work makes these rock ‘n roll ladies shine in all their witchy glory. I do wish that this book had spent more time with Kenda, Calliope, and Dakota, but perhaps in future issues.

Before one of Witchkraft’s live shows, Vampirella rescues a girl who’s being attacked by a male stranger and makes sure to give the attack the Vampire Special, which is something I just made up and basically means she kicked his ass into the pavement. After exchanging all the necessary pleasantries that go along with being helped by a mysterious vampire, our heroine finds out that this girl, Lily, is a huge fan of Witchkraft, and kindly invites her to tag along to the show. But of course, not everything is all fun and funky times in Vampi land, as Vampirella still has the task of tracking down and killing all kinds of evil creatures.

Meanwhile, KISS is visiting LA and they don’t really seem to be enjoying the sweet land of grit and stardom. There is the whole “something evil is afoot” undertone in their neck of the woods,  but the band’s storyline doesn’t reveal all that much in this issue and their part of the story just doesn’t measure up to Vampirella’s. Hope I’m not being too biased here, but I was more enthralled with Annapaola’s gritty and marvelous illustrations that wove in with Christopher’s writing rather nicely, and that was all located in Vampirella’s panels.

Basically, I came for Vampi and stayed for Vampi, everything else is just an afterthought when you have such a brilliant bloodsucker.

Story: 3 Stars
Artwork: 5 Stars
Colors: 5 Stars
Cover: 3 Stars

(W) Christopher Sebela (A) Annapaola Martello (CA) Roberto Castro

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