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Vampirella #7 marks a change in artistic team and direction for the narrative. Paul Cornell hands over writing duties to Jeremy Whitely. And Jimmy Broxton passes the pencils to Andy Belanger. If you have been keeping up with the series then you should know that Vampirella has been on a weird adventure. Heaven and Hell have been inverted and twisted. Vampirella can’t remember why she was entombed. And now readers get to explore Vampirella’s inner psyche. A place inhabited by the numerous interpretation of the hero over the years. Seeing so many different Vampirellas in a room was tons of fun. Even better was having the main Vampirella interact with each one and see the personalities clash. This run continues to be one of the weirdest Vampirella books I’ve read. This issue however makes some huge mistakes.
The first mistake is that the writers actually make fun of the iconic sling bikini. This is especially surprising with Jeremy Whitley coming on board. Whitley remarked in an interview that he admired Vampirella because famous, feminist comic artist Trina Robbins created it. Its not taboo to poke fun at a costume, especially one that was created decades ago. That being said, Vampirella and her friend Vicki literally make fun of the costume in front of other Vampirellas! If an artistic team wants to try a new look on a titular character they need to remember the history that went in to a character’s design.
The comic is set in a weird, messed up world in which the new design is meant to invert the shock value of the old costume. So I accepted the new design and thought it made sense. But now I’m getting the impression that the teams simply don’t like the old costume.
Then comes the worst part of the whole comic. The last 5 pages where Jeremy Whitley takes over. Vampirella reawakens and is in a relationship with her friend Vicki. They are eating breakfast in bed and playing with the cat like if they were at a slumber party. And Vampirella acts like a shy teenager around Vicki. I reread this run from issue #0 just to be sure I didn’t miss something. There was no hint of a romance between Vampirella and Vicki until this issue. Earlier in this issue Vampirella makes some passes at Vicki but that is not enough to justify a believable romance. It completely comes out of left field! Vampirella remarks in her internal monologue about how its so odd that she can be so nervous. Vampirella even asks, “Do Vampires blush?” I think she would know since she is a Vampire.
This is clearly Jeremy Whitley trying to be coy and playful but it just comes off as uniformed. Whitley tries to write it off by having Vampirella comment on herself through internal monologue, but it’s a poor excuse. Simply because a character mocks themselves doesn’t make it okay to mock the character. Vampirella is a horror icon that owns her sexuality and here she’s shy? What if Batman suddenly became afraid of the dark? It makes no sense whatsoever and hurts the character. This whole scene looks like something out of The Notebook, and not a place that a horror legend like Vampirella should be in.
I’m truly astonished that Dynamite Entertainment would hire Jeremy Whitley, especially since his most recent run on Unstoppable Wasp at Marvel was canceled after only 8 issues. Luckily this run is only planned until issue #11 because this new direction is not off to a good start.