Bettie Page: Unbound #2
David Avallone (writer), Scott Chantler (cover), Sheelagh D (color flats), Taylor Esposito (letters), Mohan (cover), Julius Ohta (art/cover), John Royle (cover), Kelsey Shannon (covers), David Williams (cover), Ellie Wright (colors)
July 10th, 2019
Dynamite could sell Bettie Page: Unbound #2 with eight words: “watch Bettie Page shoot sexists in the crotch.” For some, this is going to have no appeal. For fans of Bettie, a pin-up angel who could switch from being a whip-wielding domme or bound victim within the blink of an eye, the sight of her blasting the bejeesus out of a bunch of sex slavers with a gun will be an eye-popping treat.
When last we left Bettie Page, she had just leaped through a time vortex and landed on the other side a brand-new woman. This time, she can’t quite tell what’s different about her as she makes her way through a post-apocalyptic setting—at least until she comes upon a river of blood and quenches her desire to drink it, even though the sight of the stuff normally sickens her. Yep, Bettie is now in Vampirella’s body, and she’s out to kick some vampire-hunting butt while searching for the next of the Eternity Keys. When she’s captured, a familiar face from the past confronts her. It’s up to Bettie to adapt to the powers of her new body and battle free to get the Key—or face the horrors of Yog-Sothoth if her foes succeed in releasing it.
The second issue of Unbound is a bit more bloodthirsty than Bettie’s romp as Red Sonja (naturally—living in a vampire’s body will do that for a series). There is a lot more violence and a lot more dead bodies—and every single scene is enjoyable. Among the blood drinking, violence, and demonic convergences, there’s wonder as Bettie figures out how to fly with her wings, deadpan humor as she faces down her foes, and genuine human drama and guilt as she tries to figure out how to save the maximum amount of people. David Avallone’s Bettie is human, made of grit and bravery but also concerned with the world around her. The way she deals with the identity meld she’s faced with is very interesting—it’s strongly hinted that Vampirella is still in there, trying to guide her along on her journey.
There are some minor flaws. I will say that it’ll be hard to invest in the appearance of the villain I spoke about unless you’ve been following along with the main Bettie Dynamite line. And I will say that Ohta’s art is a little less sharp in this issue; sometimes Bettie’s expressions are downright awkward when they’re shooting for sensual or sexy. But when his art works (which is 89% of the time) it sets up the larger world beautifully.
Bettie Page: Unbound continues to work very well as a series, adding interesting meat to Bettie’s bones, giving us fresh perspectives on the worlds she leaps into, and showing us that sometimes the most interesting part of a crossover isn’t what changes the universe, but how it changes the character.