The Russian government is conducting deadly experiments on captive vampires. Naturally, this will not stand. Also naturally, it’s time for Vampirella and Red Sonja to smash some stuff. YES.
The previous two issues have shown us more of Vampirella’s softer side, following her efforts to dig into the disappearances in the nearby region and then helping Sonja to figure out what happened to her. She’s been inquisitive and firm, but never outright vicious. That changes in this issue, where Vampirella decides enough is enough.
The fights between Vampirella and the security team that is dispatched against her are quick and brutal. There’s no room for fun quips or standoffs. She simply has decided what must be done and the people in her way are toast. Drew Moss illustrates these sequences wonderfully with a mix of speed lines and exaggerated facial expressions that matches the book’s balance of cartoony and pulpy tones. It’s violent and intense without being graphic, which is a good fit for this story.
This issue also has some very fun moments, embracing the odd couple paring of Vampirella and Red Sonja to comedic effect. It’s never over done, but it’s always fun to see the two strong personalities clash. Jordie Bellaire’s script does a great job of inserting some lighter moments in the midst of the carnage, while Vampirella’s continuing narrations goes a long way towards keeping this from feeling like just a fight issue.
Still, that’s what the majority of the story is: Vampirella and Sonja fending off their attackers, falling back, then regrouping and fighting some more. It’s a blast, but after last month’s cliffhanger, I was hoping for a few more answers. Still, the answers we do get are fascinating in their implications, introducing a new conspiracy and plenty of new questions. And honestly, a lack of concrete answers is not such a problem when the trade-off is getting to spend time with these two gals doing what they do best!
Again, I’m greatly enjoying this series’ ability to meld real-world mysteries — like the Dyaltov Pass Incident — with the mythology of Vampirella. It’s the kind of story that can only be told with an immortal character, so I applaud Bellaire’s decision to root her story in real bizarre history. I’m curious to see how Red Sonja fits into all of this, but I’m enjoying the mysteries and the camaraderie between the two women that are being built.
The final pages are incredibly moving, giving us a side of both characters that we haven’t yet seen in this series. I won’t spoil it here, but I’m so happy to see these two getting along as well as they are. There’s a warmth to their friendship and a sense of kinship that Bellaire absolutely nails and I’m so excited to see it explored in future issues.