Vampirella vs. Purgatori is Pokemon for Demons

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Vampirella vs Purgatori #1

There are a small number of Vampirellas appearing at Dynamite Comics. Depending on which book you select, you may get an alien princess from the planet Drakulon, or you may get an immortal spawn of Lilith, mother of monsters. She's getting a history more muddled than Hawkman used to have.

This book features the latter Vampi (and if Dynamite is listening, I'd be happy to pitch you the easy layup of Vampirella vs. Vampirella), and it's her mother's birthday (as though a cosmic-level entity records such a thing on an Earth calendar). Vampirella's sister, Undine, has given Lilith a very thoughtful presence -- the location of the Tzadkimi Nistarim, the thirty-six incorruptible people who walk the earth, and who keep Armageddon at bay by existing. Seeing as how Vampirella gave her no present, Lilith decides to use this give to make Vampirella the present, forcing her to go through the motion of trying to save these pure souls from Lilith's attempt at corrupting them and thus ending the world.

As the title may clue you in, Vampirella gets an assist in this department from the scarlet-skinned Purgatori, who (somehow) knows all about Lilith's plan and is taking her own steps to make sure the incorruptible stay that way. However, her methods, as we see in the climax of this first issue, may veer wildly off course from what Vampirella might find agreeable -- hence why it's a "vs." and not an "and" on the cover.

The plot from writer ray Fawkes is almost too simple of a device, and yet it's a classic mold. It's the "find them all" quest that drives things as simple as Pokemon and as thrilling as Brandon Mull's Beyonders. Whether it transcends its trope to become something more than forgettable will rely largely on what is done now that the setup has been put into play. As for the artwork from Alvaro Sarraseca, it's largely beautiful but frequently uneven, ranging from sketchy in places to levels of realism that almost seem traced. Overall what's missing, however, is some depth to the characters -- particularly any motivation to the protagonists that invest the reader in them above the merely superficial and name-recognition factors.