Vampirella/Red Sonja #2
Jordie Bellaire (Writing); Becca Carey (Letters); Tula Lotay, David Mack, Drew Moss, Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire, Babs Tarr, Julian Totino Tedesco (Covers); Drew Moss (Art); Rebecca Nalty (Colors)
October 2, 2019
Vampirella/Red Sonja #2 picks up right where the previous issue left off: with Vampirella confronting the “yeti” who’s been terrorizing Russia, turning herself into an urban legend.
Sonja is, at first, not capable of speech, forcing Vampirella to use hypnotism to subdue her. Vampirella then takes Sonja to an occultist she knows, but Sonja awakens and attacks, dropping a large gemstone in the process. It turns out to be the Generation Stone, which is tied to a curse that has plagued Sonja for years. If she parts from it, she will meet a painful eternity, to put things simply. One glug of potion later and Vampirella can understand her. But now the two women have to get along, and when Sonja threatens fast food workers with her sword for not providing her with “adequate meat parcels” you know we’re going to be in for a ride.
This issue was a step down from the interesting worldbuilding that started us off in issue #1. I need to and want to know more about what’s going on, and while Sonja gets a little more canonical meat on her bones I require more. We know that Vampirella is a vampire and a journalist because if fulfills her bloodlust, that she has occult leanings, and feels out of place on here versus Drakulon. I require, and want more about her. But this issue has Sonja eating a pile of burgers on a hotel bed with her hair tied up in a towel and, thus, an irresistible sense of humor. Our girls don’t have much of a reason to trust each other yet, as Sonja snarks, after all, in her time vampires were undead creatures from hell.
Yet there’s some grudging admiration growing. While we’re still stuck in Vampirella’s head—and thus subject to her feelings about Sonja—it’s Sonja’s point of view that’s quite interesting. Stuck in a world she doesn’t understand and knowing perhaps too much about a secret Russian experiment, she’s on the surface feral, but under the skin wise and spoiling for a fight. I need much more of her in the next couple of issues to be honest, if only because I like my Sonja a little more complex than “feral warrior woman has big sword.” It’s fine interpretation in and of itself, but it doesn’t give her much of a chance to grow in this issue. I just need a little more before I can fully sign off on the writing, which is a shame because Bellaire is a stellar writer who made every single inch of the new Buffy comic sing. The issue isn’t up to Bellaire’s high standards writing-wise, even though it has some funny moments, good characterisation of both women, and a couple of memorable scenes. It’s just one ingredient short of being flawless.
The art is still terrific. Moss captures both women and manages to keep the cheesecake balanced with dynamic action poses and goofy poses that exude humor. Nalty’s color work is still exemplary and eye-catching, with dim light, shadowy worlds, and warm bedrooms filled with flickering candlelight.
Vampirella/Red Sonja still isn’t quite living up to my expectations. But for those who like lush art and interesting backstory work, there may be yet more magic in it for them than for I.