Vampirella: The Dark Powers #2 All About Everything Vampirella Isn't

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Vampirella: The Dark Powers #2

The misguided attempt to turn Vampirella into Supervamp continues with this second issue of Vampirella: The Dark Powers. The Dynamite Comics concept of "plural worlds" is the tableau against which Project; Superpowers gathers all its members from various alternate Earths, finding Vampirella on Plural Earth 0666. The majority of the membership isn't comfortable with her being on the team, partly because in their last adventure her methods of attack was responsible for one of their members being put in critical condition. Also, plunging in without knowing the facts about the enemy allowed the enemy to regroup with an even larger threat, adapted to what it has learned of Vampirella's power set.

It is this threat that now terrifies the city, and Vampirella once more charges directly into it. The page one setup tries to convey that the crowd is equally as frightened of Vampirella as it is of the rampaging kaiju. Unfortunately, this doesn't really translate very well in Paul Davidson's art, as we see the mob from multiple angles. The flow of the text indicates this would have been better served were the thre panels shot through a stationary point of view, so we could see the crowd rush left in panel one, brake hard in panel two, and retreat in panel three, before turning the page to see them running scared of the approaching Vampirella. As it is, the visuals don't punch home Dan Abnett's joke, and Nate Cosby didn't see it as it slipped across his editorial desk.

Vampirella eviscerates the creature so thoroughly and so viciously that the regenerating artificial intelligence responsible for regenerating the threat goes into overdrive, allowing the rest of the team to locate it and put it out of commission for good. But most of them still don't like her. Each member is almost universally grounded in some form of science; Vampirella exists outside of those boundaries to them, in the supernatural.

Which Vampirella insists she is not.

For almost the entirety of the book.

At length.

But that's not to say the book isn't without its action. The opening battle and the fight scenes are what we have come to love about the way our Vampi fights. Alas, that's too short, so the rest of the book is her wanting to resign, considering her position in the group, finding a rare friend in the Green Lama, and ultimately being kept on the team by its leader, Black Venus -- but on a probationary status as a shadow to The Flame and Flame Girl on their world, just to see how they do things and learn their protocols.

I'm still on the fence about this whole unified world of Dynamite, and the way it's being shaped. But the handling of this book in particular is something I'm finding less appealing. The writing is fair enough -- we get a decent dose of action, despite all the introspection. It's mostly with the artistic side of the storytelling where I have issues. It's not just that Vampirella is drawn with the most unattractively masculine face -- although that's certainly distracting in a number of places. But it's also in that the pictures simply don't convey the story. In addition to the mob scene from page one, there's a cute moment between Vampirella an Green lama where she tells him, "Admit it, you just dig the monokini."  Except -- just as I pointed out when reviewing the first issue -- she isn't wearing the monokini. She's wearing the superhero garb assigned her. (And the panel just discussed is probably one of the worst looks of Vampirella in the book; and it's not that Davidson can't draw attractive female faces, because Black Venus is in the same panel and she looks just fine.)

Get the writer and the artist on the same wavelength -- i.e. tell the editor to do his job -- and this story may yet have a chance to stick the landing.

3.0 / 5.0