"Vampirella: Roses for the Dead #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Kristina Deak-Linsner
Illustrated by Joseph Michael-Linsner
Colored by Ceci de la Cruz
Lettered by Jeff Eckleberry
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 27th, 2018
Vampirella is about to turn 50 and she never looked better. To prepare, we've got this new mini-series, Roses for the Dead, which has the heroine hunting down a sexual predator on the streets of Philadelphia, only to be blindsided by a witch named Evily. It turns out they're both tracking the same villain. Since this is a comic book, they have to fight first before they realize they're on the same side.
This is a very new reader-friendly comic, as everyone spouts off exposition like they're presenting book reports. We learn the origins of Vampirella and Evily shortly after they meet in a rather clunky fashion. No one speaks like this, nor do they instantly fork over their entire life story to someone moments after meeting them.
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There are a handful of caption boxes that provide some additional context, although they're unnecessary. They point out stuff that is already obvious based on the artwork. For example, when we first see Vampirella, the caption reads, “A moonless night under a starless sky...” That's a redundant box, as we can see there the sky and the moon and stars are not in it. Fortunately, this only happens a few more times, but this, coupled with the exposition-heavy dialogue, makes for an over-written comic.
This is a bummer, as Joseph Michael-Linsner's artwork is absolutely gorgeous. His pencils have a classic feel to them, like something out of old pulp books. Vampi is back in her classic red bikini costume that for some reason has a collar. When she has to walk out in public, she dresses it up a bit with a mini-skirt. I love the juxtaposition between this beautiful woman and the huge bat-like wings that blossom out of her back.
There's a literal monster at play in Vampirella: Roses for the Dead, however it's a little lackluster. It's made out of garbage cans. Despite the green fire coming out of it, this creature doesn't look very intimidating. It's like if Oscar the Grouch got a giant robot suit. It's brought to life by one of Evily's spells. I like how letterer Jeff Eckleberry changes up the font for her incantations, giving it an occult flair.
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Colorist Ceci de la Cruz matches up with Michael-Linsner's style perfectly, highlighting all the right aspects. Despite it being a horror book, the colors are bright. Shadow is used sparingly if at all, allowing you to see everything in glorious detail. My personal favorite page is the shot of Vampirella's history with a blood-red moon shining down on her. It's an awesome shot.
Vampirella: Roses for the Dead is off to a rocky start. It feels like an awkward way to force this other character (Evily) into Vampirella's world. That makes for a weird crossover and that's saying something considering she just finished meeting Cassie Hack and KISS. Despite the clunky narrative, the two heroines are fighting for a noble cause. There's just enough here to pull me back to see what comes next.