The best thing about Vengeance of Vampirella #1 is that Vampirella is mostly not in it. Instead, the story takes time to succinctly introduce us to a desolate world, twenty-five years into the future. Huddled in a barely illuminated and heated shelter, a young child asks an elder to read them a story to help them not be scared of the dark. The story the child requests to calm her fears is a story about her.
Vengeance of Vampirella #1
Joshua Middleton (cover artist), Troy Peteri (letterer), Omi Remalante Jr. (colourist), Tom Sniegoski (writer), Michael Sta. Maria (artist)
October 2, 2019
Over the next few pages, writer Tom Sniegoski and artist Michael Sta. Maria expertly shape this world’s despair, with pithy details that nonetheless cast a heavy weight to Vampirella’s absence. This story returns to her child of darkness, champion of light origin story, rather than the alien vampire origin that she vacillates between. Confusing if, like me, you’re trying to gain a sense of Vampirella and have been learning about the latter. But knowing of her convoluted, often rebooted origins, and given the creative team’s skills, it’s easy to sink into the depths of this version of Vampirella. Here, she fought demons as a protector of humanity, until the lords of Chaos grew tired of her menacing their demon spawn and birthed a new child of darkness named Nyx. Targeting more than just the hero herself, Nyx went after Vampirella’s loved ones, and their loss eventually became too much for Vampirella.
From this gorgeously rendered introduction that begins with a bloodied Vampirella standing proudly atop a mountain of massacred demons, to a dead Vampirella sprawled across the same, the sense of hopelessness is intense. But allowing this story to be viewed through the hopeful eyes of a child segues smoothly into the last ditch efforts of the Danse Macabre who are trying to find away to bring back Vampirella. Though this isn’t explicitly stated. Her name isn’t spoken by the hooded figure and the suited agent he commands from a distance. But though they do not name Vampirella, they are most certainly speaking of her, adding further weight to her story.
Meanwhile, Nyx has a new enemy: boredom. Sta. Maria lavishes her scenes with this sense of ennui. Languid poses and bored expressions dominate her panels, and I never thought I’d want to have a robe made of flesh and faces, but Sta. Maria makes Nyx’s robe look so soft and comfy.
This issue is a slow, almost sensual dance that teases with the promise of what is to come when Vampirella finally does return. With a stunning cover that leans into her monstrous side and the bloodlust that sometimes fuels her, her vengeance is going to be so very, very sweet.
This is the kind of Vampirella I am looking for.