Writer: Christopher Priest
Artist: Michael Sta. Maria
WHAT IS IT?
A horror-fantasy story spinning out of the pages of Vampirella.
Think Hocus Pocus meets Dracula.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Answering a call about a dead body, Imogen flies to San Francisco to get rid of it. On her arrival, she finds a teenage girl named Katie stuffing her face with hotel room service food. Suspicious, Katie assures her that she's not the murderer, but that it was River East, the alias and secret identity of a local rich socialite used by Vampirella’s sister, Draculina.
Katie explains that she is connected to Draculina through a cursed candle which forces them to switch bodies when they fall asleep. Hoping to end the curse, the vampire has made multiple attempts on Katie’s life. Meanwhile, Draculina has begun collecting the fragment of the Daemon Periapt hoping to sever the link between her and Katie.
Will Draculina succeed? And why are she and Katie interlinked in the first place?
Priest’s story is organized well, making it fun for new readers of Vampirella characters without relying on heavy lore knowledge.
The linework of Sta. Maria is extremely versatile. He transitions between sharp, crisp lines for foreboding characters and more appropriate relaxed ones for Katie, depicting her youth well.
Nunes’ contrasting colors for big moments truly make the reader pause and appreciate the drama of the moment. He demonstrates a keen eye by using bright colors sparingly.
For a dialogue-heavy book, Schubert perfectly arranges the balloons well, so there is no confusion about reading order.
The story’s pacing allows an effective ending that benefits the twist greatly. The mystery is dragged out juuuust enough to maintain a reader’s interest.
The first page opts for including the majority of the text in the gutter (the space between panels) which effectively avoids covering the establishing shot of the book and matches the contemplative tone of that panel.
Schubert’s starkly contrasting sound effects lettering for a car crash sequence greatly assists in making the moment intense and gives the art a bigger sense of motion.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
Content Warning: There are displays of graphic violence that could be a turn-off to readers sensitive to that.
Black caption boxes used for chapter names and locations are placed in odd spots and are a bit distracting.
One of the characters refers to a dead body as a “Gomer” and it’s not explained why that term is used or if it’s unique to vampires.
A few panels depicting a woman screaming have odd facial expressions that don’t seem to match the text.
The cover art reveals little about the story and could be seen as pandering to fans of Vampirella.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
For over 50 years, Draculina has merely been a fun fact in the Vampirella franchise. Appearing as a brief stand-in for Vampirella’s hosting, she has had little to no focus until Dynamite decided to bring her into The Sacred Six. Longtime fans of the series will be delighted to finally see Draculina become a fully-fledged character. Although the book doesn’t reveal much, it seems to suggest that she is strong-willed and ruthless, but perhaps a bit vulnerable. It’s not explained why she is so intent on killing Katie rather than removing the curse. Could Katie remind Draculina of parts of herself she dislikes? The possibilities set up in this issue will push readers to continue to learn more about the sister of Vampirella.
The art has everything a horror fan would love: gore, bright colors, and mysterious characters. Being visually stunning adds so much to the drama and keeps the story fast-paced, making this an even more exciting read. Perfect for longtime Vampirella fans or casual lovers of vampire tales, this book is a solid read.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Vampirella by Christopher Priest & Ergun Gunduz
Quantum and Woody by Christopher Priest & M. D. Bright
Vampiverse by Tom Sniegoski, Jeannine Acheson, & Daniel Maine
If you like the art:
Vengeance of Vampirella by Tom Sniegoski & Michael Sta. Maria
Dellec by Vince Hernandez, Frank Mastromauro, & Michael Sta. Maria
Nyx by Christos Gage & Marc Borstel
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Christopher Priest – Writer
An established titan in the comics industry, Priest has written multiple titles for Marvel and DC as well books for Valiant and Dynamite.
He started as an intern at Marvel in 1978 and in 1979 joined their editorial staff making him the first black editor in mainstream comics.
Priest is also a musician and released his first album in 1981.
Michael Sta. Maria – Artist
Working primarily in the indie sphere, Sta. Maria has penciled books for Dynamite, Zenescope, and Aspen Comics.
He is also a cover artist having drawn for Dynamite and Zenescope.
Sta. Maria is also a watercolor artist and regularly does prints of favorite superheroes.
Ivan Nunes – Colorist
An established talent, Nunes has colored several books for DC, Dynamite, Zenescope and Titan Comics.
He is also a cover artist having drawn for books such as Cyborg, Green Lanterns, and Justice League Odyssey for DC comics and Grimm Fairy Tales for Zenescope.
Nunes hails from Brazil.
Willie Schubert – Letterer
Having a prolific career, Schubert has lettered dozens of books for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Vertigo, and First Comics.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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