Vampirella: Feary Tales #1 Review

Posted October 13, 2014 by Ben Ecker in Comic Books

Written by: Nancy A. Collins, Devin Grayson, & John Shirley

Art by: Jack Jadson, Ronilson Freire, & Elmo Bondoc

Publisher: Dynamite

It’s October. That magical time of year when horror is in the air and people are clamoring for all things spooky and weird. So, I figured that this would be a good time to give the new Vampirella book a gander.

As you can probably guess from the title, Vampirella: Feary Tales sees our resident extraterrestrial vampiress entering into an assortment of fairy tales. Specifically, she’s transported into them via an enchanted tome that she uncovers in her newly acquired Transylvanian castle. In this issue, she finds herself in Blue Beard and Cinderella. Of course, she doesn’t exactly fit in with the fairy tale worlds she’s inhabiting and hilarity ensues.

As is par for the course with Vampirella, behind the skimpy outfit there’s a healthy serving of female empowerment narrative. This stands to create a compelling dynamic when paired with these traditional fairy tale narratives. It’s not exactly untraveled territory, but there’s still potential in it. What remains in question is whether this comic is going to be able to capitalize on that potential. The fact that each section of the book is apparently going to have its own writer and artist makes that a bit harder to address. Here, the Cinderella segment feels like it accomplishes more. That could simply be because it’s in that section that Vampirella realizes what’s going on, giving her a more active role, but that also leads to the Blue Beard section feeling like it’s been somewhat wasted. That’s sad, because, despite being a lesser known tale, Blue Beard has always had a lot of potential for intriguing gender dynamics. Overall, it seems like the writers are content to simply poke at elements that could be interesting, rather than diving head first into them. The comedy feels similarly stunted, with a lot of puns (and I do love puns) and humor on the surface that doesn’t really connect. The meta interaction between Vampirella and the narrator, for instance, is intended to be witty but just reads as flat. The book remains entertaining throughout, but it just ends up feeling somewhat middling.

As with the writing, the art within the Cinderella section of the book comes across as the strongest. All of the art in the book is serviceable, but Bondoc’s, in the Cinderella portion, is the most fitting for the fairy tale subject matter. While the rest of the book maintains a 2D, high contrast look, the visuals take on a slightly more painterly quality when Vampirella enters this second world. Bondoc’s art also seems more consistent, in general, with less fluctuation in things such as character faces. There are some panels in which even Vampirella herself looks a bit odd, and, for a series so steeped in the world of cheesecake images, that’s a bit of a problem.

There are worse ways to get into the Halloween spirit this month than with this comic, but I just didn’t walk away feeling like the book had given me anything to sink my teeth into.

About the Author

Ben Ecker

Recent grad, in Sacramento, California. Into comics, music, films (especially of the horror variety), books, and long walks on the beach.