VAMPIVERSE, ISSUE #1
Writers: Thomas E. Sniegoski & Jeannine Acheson
Artist: Daniel Mainé
WHAT IS IT?
An action-packed mystery full of multiversal vampire chaos.
Think Blade meets Injustice: Gods Among Us
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
On a dying planet, a shorted-haired Vampirella is visited by a mysterious stranger who calls themself the Artist. The stranger refers to her as "the greatest creation" and commands her to be their messenger, warning her other creations about the end to come.
Meanwhile, another Vampirella is enjoying Eden with her now redeemed mother, Lilith, when the short-haired one appears in a flash of light.
She warns Vampirella that the fabric of reality is at risk of falling apart and that the many Vampirellas across the multiverse are the key to holding it together. Before she can explain further, Eden is attacked by an armored figure, Bloodwing, and Vampirella is whisked off to another world with a Book of Prophecies. What she finds there makes her question herself and the fate of the universe.
Sniegoski & Acheson’s character, the Artist, is a great framing device that leaves the reader pondering multiple questions. Since the Artist allegedly created Vampirella, it will be interesting to see how the titular character tackles her existence and purpose.
Daniel Mainé’s attention to detail sells the magic and mystery of this story. The inside of the short-haired Vampirella’s cape is a finely crafted field of stars creating an air of omniscience and otherworldliness. The detail on Lilith as a tree is textured wonderfully and makes the character feel powerful and awe-inspiring.
The color choices by Francesca Cittarelli are stellar. The reader truly gets a sense of doom and gloom in the beginning due to the high-contrast, rich palette. Her employment of mainly blues and reds really heightens the drama and wow factor of the Artist’s first appearance. The rich palette of greens, pinks, oranges and yellows used while Vampirella is in Eden displays its wondrous nature.
Variety is the spice of life, and Taylor Esposito uses it masterfully. The color choices for the sound effects blend when they need to and stand out when they call for an impact.
The blending of sound effect lettering and the environment’s coloring when Bloodwing rips through a portal was particularly noteworthy. Its placement made the character seem to rip through the page itself and greatly demonstrated Bloodwing’s power.
The dialogue from the Artist and Bloodwing did an excellent job of establishing them as distinct characters in this long-storied franchise. The Artist speaks poetically and with an air of compassion for their creations, while Bloodwing’s arrogance shines through their use of humor.
The Artist was established visually as a God-like figure with incredible abilities largely due to the two-page spread that introduced them.
The story also leaves room for metacommentary. Will the Artist be a stand-in for previous Vampirella authors (one of which is Tom Sniegoski)? Or perhaps different publishers? There’s a lot of potential to go beyond the contents of the book.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
Being a book about the multiverse of Vampirella, it was always going to be hard to do something comic book readers wouldn’t already expect. That being said, the ending was still a bit predictable.
Vampirella also didn’t get a lot of dialogue outside being confused at the situation, so her personality wasn’t as established as it could have been.
At times, the reds in a panel were too subdued and could have popped more; it is Vampirella’s signature color, after all.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Vampiverse leaves the reader asking questions and wanting more. The Artist is a character full of possibilities and potential themes that could be explored. Questions on the purpose of Vampirella's existence could take this story into deep and emotional territory for a character whose history is highly based in camp. The Artist is written big and reads like they’re going to be a game-changer in the Vampirella lexicon. While the reader won’t get much from Vampirella in this issue beyond confusion and fighting back, the field is wide open, which is incredibly exciting.
Overall, the writing style is exceptional. The narration reads like a fable and the main antagonist of this issue, Bloodwing, sounds like a dramatic actor without straying into cheesy territory. What really makes these characters stand out is the art. Bloodwing is fierce, containing brutal armor and a fiery palette to display their character and the style used for the short-haired Vampy and the Artist splendidly display their otherworldliness and transcendence. The differing color choices for those who are jumping through the multiverse and those in their current dimension immediately signal that something out of the ordinary is going on in those panels. That, along with creative paneling, means that this book is never visually boring.
Vampiverse is an excellent read for already established fans of Vampirella who might be familiar with past incarnations, but it wouldn’t leave any new readers hanging as it's compelling enough without prior knowledge of the lore. Anyone who is a fan of chaotic multiverse stories and wouldn’t mind a dash of horror sprinkled in would find enjoyment in Vampiverse.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Young Hellboy: The Hidden Land by Mike Mignola & Thomas Sniegoski
Vampirella: Valentine’s Day Special by Thomas Sniegoski & Jeannine Acheson
Injustice: Gods Among Us by Tom Taylor & Jheremy Raapack
If you like the art:
Robyn Hood: The Hunted by Latoya Morgan & Daniel Mainé
Chastity by Leah Williams & Daniel Mainé
Harley Quinn & The Birds Of Prey by Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Thomas E. Sniegoski (@tomsniegoski) – Writer
Tom is a novelist having penned over two dozen books including Fallen which was adapted into a trilogy of films for ABC Family.
He wrote the original Vengeance Of Vampirella in 1994 and returned to the series 15 years later for the character’s 50th anniversary.
Ever the collaborator, Tom has co-written Young Hellboy with Mike Mignola and Bone: Tall Tales with Jeff Smith.
Jeannine Acheson – Writer
Jeannine made her comics debut on the Vampirella: Valentine’s Day Special released in February 2021.
She and Tom went to high school together over 40 years ago and reconnected when Jeannine invited Tom to speak to her class.
Her favorite comic from the big two publishers is Batman.
Daniel Mainé (@danielofmaine) – Artist
Daniel is also an author writing and illustrating the Beartoncity Saga.
He has worked with multiple publishers including Aftershock, Dynamite, and Zenescope.
Daniel hails from Grenada, Spain.
Francesca Cittarelli (@zychelfran) - Colorist
As a newcomer to comics, Francesca also did colors for Aftershock's You Are Obsolete #5 with Pippa Bowland and Juancho Valez, Vampirella #15, and the prologue pages of Sacred Six #4 & 5.
She hails from Italy and obtained degrees in Comics and Digital Coloring from the International School of Comics - Rome.
Taylor Esposito (@TaylorEspo) – Letterer
Multitalented: Does a few different comic-related design jobs, and quite a few Graphic Design jobs, all which can be found on his website.
Prolific: Has worked on books for DC/Dynamite/Dark Horse, and now Vault Comics
Second-degree black belt in Koei-Kan Karate-Do
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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