I really enjoyed the first two issues of this series, even with some of the weird detours and the disjointed narrative structure of the second issue. It still feels like the book is leading somewhere intriguing, but this was honestly the first installment of this new series to feel like a genuine mess to me.
The artwork by Ergün Gündüz is still a pleasure, with expressive faces that really sell much of the comedy and banter, particularly during the scenes with Ella and her psychiatrist. However, there are a few sequences that feel somewhat disconnected from the action that’s supposed to be happening. For instance, there’s once fight sequence where it feels like Ella is simply posing in one spot while the enemies jump over and around her. In the next page, however, she’s back to flipping around and doling out gory justice. It just feels somewhat off-putting and inconsistent in this issue.
Consistency honestly seems to be the biggest problem in this issue. While previous issues have had fun with different time jumps, they were still relatively easy to keep track of, with the book being presented as Vampirella’s attempts to sort out her many years of hang-ups by talking them out with her therapist. However, I had a very difficult time in this issue figuring exactly when things are happening.
It’s especially hard to suss out the timeline here because of something that happens at the end of the first issue, when Ella’s mother, Lilith, walks into her session. Issue two makes no reference to Ella’s mother, continuing on with her session, then ends with a reference to bringing Lilith into the room. This issue opens with Ella talking about something that happened a year ago, with no mention of her mother being in the room … until we see her mother in the room about halfway through the issue.
If my explanation is confusing, then it’s just because I was flummoxed by how this played out in the book. If the implication is that Ella has been seeing the therapist for years (with part of her sessions here being a flashback on their own), then that’s not entirely clear in the book. The series has been full of little avenues like that, but again, this is the first issue where it felt like it all piled onto itself. It makes for an unsatisfying read when we can’t tell when things are happening. There’s an unreliable narrator and then there’s an unnavigable timeline, which is hindered by time jumps that sometimes happen in the upper corner of a page. It’s honestly somewhat baffling.
Again, this is a book that I have been enjoying very much in previous issues and there are still positives to be found here. The dialogue continues to be clever and snappy, embracing the absurdities of Vampirella’s long history while still finding ways to play with our expectations of her universe and the trappings of her stories. The artwork and colors still pop beautifully, particularly in the gothic, moonlit sequences when Ella fully unfurls her wings. There are also fun references to past Vampirella storylines that fans should appreciate, but which don’t entirely alienate new readers.
Narratively, this issue just felt like a misstep. However, there are still some really cool ideas at play here. I’m hopeful that these timeline problems become less foggy as the series continues.