Dynamite Entertainment ventures into the world of prose novels with Vampirella: Blood Invasion, featuring a gorgeous cover by Jenny Frison. Unfortunately, the inside pages could use a little more polish.
Vampirella: Blood Invasion
Nancy A. Collins
November 7, 2019
Vampirella: Blood Invasion takes us back to her original origin story where she hails from an advanced race of beings who live on the planet Drakulon. There, the rivers flow red with actual blood, which she used to enjoy swimming in—breaststrokes, being her preferred style. Of course. But the great red ice cap is melting away and the literal lifeblood of her world is vanishing. This is why she and several other Drakulonnes have been dispersed across the galaxy to find a new home for their people. Years have passed since Vampirella landed on and eventually fell in love with Earth, but now the surviving Drakulonnes have caught up with her, intent on claiming Earth as their new cafeteria and branding her a traitor for choosing to side against them.
The story opens with Vampirella clearing out a cult ritual summoning of a hellhound. Collins’ writing flows through descriptions of Vampirella shedding her dark trench coat, shrugging her wings free, and battling the deadly creature. Missing the visual medium of comics, Vampirella: Blood Invasion obviously has to rely on its author to paint a picture for its readers. While having read of Vampirella’s exploits in comic form and being easily able to envision what I read certainly helps me in depicting such imagery, Collins does well with her descriptions of the action and the characters to allow a new reader to step in. Collins, who has written Vampirella comics in the past and is a prolific horror novel writer, manages the transition with confidence.
We also get to enjoy some downtime and interactions between Vampirella and her roommate, Pantha, who is also her partner in their monster hunting business. As much as action and romance can fuel a story, it’s the moments of characters being normal, human beings (even if they are alien vampires and werecats) that really brings everything home.
But, we can’t forget that Vampirella is a beautiful, buxom, scantily clad vampire warrior with voluptuous breasts, and Collins makes sure we never do. (Also, she has boobs, in case you missed that.) Raiding the thesaurus for as many words as possible to describe her appearance, Collins paints the picture of our sexy vampire princess, from the top of her raven bangs, to all the luscious hills and valleys in between. Unfortunately, her lovers don’t get the same attention, even in romantic and sexy scenes where she’s imagining or actually getting down and dirty. Worse, in the latter, the writing stops short of giving us those juicy details, even going so far as calling an intimate moment “indescribable,” which could not be more of an on-the-nose cop out. Pity. Vampirella comics are labeled “Teen+” but a prose novel could have taken the opportunity to delve more deeply into the steamy romance genre.
Collins also spends a solid amount of time describing Vampirella’s attire, with numerous mentions in the initial pages of the fact that she is wearing high-heeled stiletto boots. Sexy. We get it. Sexy outfit. We get it. Marks are also being subtracted for repeated descriptions of her outfit’s “plunging neckline.” I would have accepted a high-collared halter neckline, but what we’re really going for here is a keyhole neckline. Where the keyhole fits a very, very large key.
Fashion pet peeves aside, the most glaring problem with Vampirella: Blood Invasion is that it is absolutely riddled with grammatical errors. For its venture into the world of prose, Dynamite could have at least coughed up some funds for a proper copyeditor to avoid embarrassingly unprofessional moments like this:
“Before she could answer, the Vampirella’s scalp began to crawl, sending shivers throughout her body. Pantha’s hissed and bared her fangs as he hair abruptly stood on end, her cat-slit pupils expanding to swallow her eyes.”
That’s not how scalps, he hairs, or cat eyes work.
Look, I am happy to offer you my services, Dynamite. Call me! Or, sign up for the fourth tier of our Patreon so we can take care of editing the rest of the books you have planned for this venture! Or just click on those Grammarly ads that keep popping up everywhere. It’s worth it, I promise.
Book reviewers don’t typically spend time talking about book covers, but it’s hard to ignore the magic of a Frison cover. As always, Frison’s depiction of sexy women allows us to appreciate the form without letting us escape the power and confidence of the woman who owns it. Frison uses Vampirella’s iconic outfit to amplify the story literally, sinking the bottom half into a pool of blood. For a character whose outfit quite often gets lost between the cracks of her ass, Frison offers instead the subtle mystery of what lies beneath as Vampirella basks in her favourite pastime.
Collins’ familiarity with Vampirella means this story holds true to what we see in the comics. There’s a good amount of action, strong character moments, a little bit of guts and gore, and a heroine that doesn’t take things too seriously unless the ones she loves are being harmed. Wrapped in this gorgeous cover, Vampirella: Blood Invasion is a fast and fun read, but it does take a dark turn that leaves behind a global devastation that draws from reality. But when the blood settles, Vampirella is as determined as ever to fight for the home and people she loves.
Its just two bad about that, the horrible the grammars.