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Vampirella/Red Sonja #5 Review

Vampirella goes punk.

After last month’s Red Sonja-centric flashback story, we get to take a trip to a more carefree time for Vampirella. Before she became obsessed with finding the truth behind Earth’s evils.

Right off the bat (no pun intended), let me say that this was easily my favorite issue of this series so far. There are so many different elements in play here that make this the ideal Vampirella story in so many ways. It’s sexy, dangerous, and heartfelt in surprising ways that sneak up on you like a thief in the night.

When we first met Vampirella in this series, she had the character’s trademark flirtatious attitude. However, we get the sense that it’s been tempered somewhat by years of loss and hard lessons. Here, we get to see one of those lessons play out.

The central story is nothing particularly new. However, it’s through Vampirella’s narration, her observations of the alien world around her and her own ignorance, that allow us to see the story in a unique light. Vampirella has arrived on Earth at a time when she is unaware of her own privilege. She is permitted to be unafraid not because of her otherworldly strength, but because of her physical appearance. This is the crux of Jordie Bellaire’s story and another indication that rooting the series in the 1960s was a smart move.

Dynamite

Speaking of the setting, this book’s art team has a particularly strong outing with some of this issue’s set pieces. In particular, the sequence in the punk club near the beginning of the issue is a major highlight. As Iggy and the Stooges take the stage, there’s a clear abandon from the band and the audience alike, all of them surrendering to the music. Vampirella and her new friend find each other immediately and the attraction is palpable. Becca Carey renders the lyrics to “I Wanna Be Your Dog” as though they are slashing their way through the air, while Drew Moss gives us dancing figures moving their way through the sound of Iggy’s vocals. It’s a striking visual.

Another highlight is the bloody action sequence toward the end of the issue. Moss doesn’t shy away from the gore, giving us some gnarly vivisections and frantic body language from the villains as they realize how out of their depth they are. Rebecca Nalty’s colors bring out the violence and the psychedelia of the gritty 60s setting in ways that feel delightfully retro in all the best ways.

I’ve loved the artwork and writing in this series so far, but this issue in particular felt like everything came together in such a unique way.

By the end of this issue, you’ll understand why Vampirella was so dead-set on helping Sonja in their first encounter. This issue acts as a wonderful character study of Vampirella and offers some context for the series as a whole.

Vampirella/Red Sonja #5
Is it good?
Bellaire and co. deliver the best issue of the series yet in this trippy look back at Vampirella's arrival on Earth.
Vampirella receives further character development that clears up some of her decisions in the first few issues
The artwork is gorgeous across the board, making the issue feel as punk rock as the bands featured in the story
The action sequence is grotesque, but delivered in an exciting way
10
Fantastic
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