When I recently heard about yet another Vampi reboot, I tweeted my disgust whilst promising to keep an open mind. Now, with this 25c introductory comic in my hands, is it “eat my hat” time?
In a similar vein as the recent Red Sonja books, Vampi is certainly not in Kansas anymore. In its place we start with a trio of characters on a bit of a trek. It seems that they are unhappy with their lot in life with something not quite right in their Paradise, hence their hike through the snow. Their quest is to locate and wake Vampi who herself is currently asleep and dreaming of her past and metaphorically her present, unaware of the prophecy that is waiting to curls its arms around her.
Fans of Vampi will now that she has been around since the 70’s, in one guise or another. For a few years now, Dynamite has been her home. Through her stay at Dynamite, she has gone through a number of changes, the last one only last year, seemed to be given up on a little early. With this history it is easy to fall into a level of distrust with the ideas that British writer Paul Cornell is looking to add.
Paul Cornell is a writer who is probably best known for his work on Doctor Who novels, along with his work on Action Comics and with Knight & Squire. Here, Cornell’s writing is hampered a little by having to bring the reader up to some level of speed without giving the whole game away. A similar problem happened to Amy Chu’s Sonja book, but here Cornell is helped by having a trio of characters to work with so we learn through their discussion. The dialogue is interesting, with allusions to the world that we yet to be introduced too mixing in with the environments that the characters inhabit, before falling towards stating the obvious a little towards the end.
Cornell’s partner in crime is fellow Brit Jimmy Broxton. I have not seen a lot of Broxton’s work in the past, but looking at it through my cautious eyes I am impressed. Broxton has a style that reminds me of the classic art of Russ Manning. This is pretty much a change of pace from the majority of mainstream books and this difference does give it a fresh, if aged in places, appeal. As this is an introduction book, there is a lot of dialogue yet Broxton doesn’t allow it to detract from the storytelling. As for Vampi herself, there is an impish quality about her that harkens back to her original look way back in the 70’s. Also adding to the 70’s vibe is Broxton’s choice of color scheme. As you would expect from Dynamite, there are a trio of covers to choose from; cover “A” by Philip Tan; cover “B” from Joseph Michael Linsner; cover “C” from cheesecake maestro J. Scott Campbell.
Vampirella is one of the most controversial comic book characters around. Whether its her sensuality or her costume or her vivaciousness it seems that no-one really knows what to do with her or how to successfully make a go of an ongoing series. Even this time around, there is another costume change coming. Still, at least with Cornell and Broxton on the books, there is a chance that this book will have a distinctive look. Now if you excuse me, I need to find a recipe for grilled chapeau and cheese.
Writing – 3.5 Stars
Art – 4 Stars
Colors – 4 Stars
Cover “A” – 5 Stars
ART BY Jimmy Broxton
COVER BY Philip Tan
PUBLISHER Dynamite Entertainment