Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Vampirella Strikes by Tom Sniegoski and Johnny D.

Title: Vampirella Strikes TPB
Author: Tom Sniegoski and Johnny D. (Illustrator)
Series: Vampirella Strikes, 1-6
Genre: Graphic Novel
Release Date: 20 August 2013

For years, the raven-haired heroine Vampirella has hunted the world's supernatural threats, all the while fighting back her own bloodthirsty nature. After a night out in Boston leads to particularly brutal violence, she seeks comfort in her Brownstone home... but discovers the most unexpected surprise of all. Angels have been sent to her by God - and they come asking for help! Enter Janus, a former soldier in the legion of Heaven, who skirts the line between the damned and divine. Only a fallen angel can navigate Vampirella through the seedy, demon-run underworld, where she hopes to find the source of an addictive, body-altering drug derived from archangel blood. Will Vampirella's mission redeem her... or will she uncover secrets so shocking that their discovery will damn her forever?

It's been a long time since I've picked up a graphic novel and read it, beginning to end. Years. But there was a time when I read them all the time. When I was in the comic book store buying something at least once a week. I still have boxes of them - all lovingly backboarded and sheathed. When I saw this trade-paperback on NetGalley, I requested it instantly; for a couple of reasons. 1: I used to love reading Vampirella. She was awesome. Kick ass, a little dark, and not ready to give into it completely. Yeah, yeah, she has the skimpy outfit - just look at it up there, a little ridiculous to fight in, but she never required anyone else to save her. She did the saving. And 2: that cover is done by Michael Turner. I just love his art. I got addicted to him back when he created Witchblade. He passed in 2008, and I still gravitate towards his art anytime I see it. Honestly, I didn't even read the blurb before I requested it. It was Vampirella with a Michael Turner cover. Sold.

Then I started reading it, and the demons and angels showed up. I have to admit I was a little trepidatious about it - because I've been watching Supernatural for *years*. And the demon/angel angle that series has going on keeps me engrossed even when I'm not loving the show. Let me pull myself back on topic though.

The Plot: Even though this is a "complete" 6-comic book story, it felt more like a beginning. The really, truly interesting twists didn't happen until near the end. That's when I really got pulled in and wanted to see what happened. Up until then it was a lot of go here, fight that, kill them, get hurt, move on. Okay, really, but there's just not a lot there to talk about.

The Art: I mostly liked the art. It was a bit more...understated than what I've seen a lot of. The scenes were set darkly, and it reminded me of a really grim scene. Which made sense considering the subject matter of the story. But, yeah there's a 'but', there were some panels that were downright baffling. I had to look at them for several minutes before I could determine what I was looking at exactly. Too close to the subject, weird angles, not distinguishable characters (all the men began to look alike at the end. I still had no idea who did what where in the last few pages). And then there was the one scene that made me cringe - a full page no less - looking up from between Vampirella's legs when she's in her skimpy fighting outfit. Tits and ass would have been the least of my complaints. I just don't feel like I need to see her vagina right there in my face - even if it is covered with something like bikini bottoms. However, it was one page out of 178, and I pushed it out of my mind and moved on to enjoy the rest of the book.

Overall, this is a good addition to the Vampirella story-verse. Though I'd love to see a little more about what happens with the characters that were the impetus for the entire story. They just weren't explored enough for my liking - I hope there's more about them at some point.

Grade: C+/B- - Hard to choose. I enjoyed it a great deal, but it did have its issues.

Buy Here at Dynamite

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