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This is what you would expect from a comic called Vampirella vs. Fluffy the Vampire Killer. Vampirella fights an attempt to get around licensing Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Like most comedies mixed in with horror, there is gore and hit-or-miss comedy. But are there enough hits to keep me from staking myself at the end?
Vampirella is the hot new teacher in a town plagued by a rash of killings that are demonic in nature. While Vampirella is there to help, she finds out there is one powerful slayer, Fluffy, ready to help too: by putting a stake in her chest!
Vampirella vs. Fluffy is a one-shot, and the biggest problem with one-shots is usually terrible pacing. Stories that should normally span a mini-series are crammed into a thirty-two page issue. Halloween Eve was a one-shot that suffered just this month of poor pacing. But Vampirella vs. Fluffy does a great job keeping its story self-contained without big pacing problems.
Sometimes the comedy is annoying and inept and feels like it is an attempt at satire of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. At first, I thought it was supposed to mock the series, but I think the company just couldn’t get the license for Buffy (already held by Dark Horse Comics) and decided an obvious rip-off would have to suffice. But, being a “rip-off,” it comes off as a satire of the concept rather than the actual concept. Some of the “annoying and inept” comedy includes when Fluffy says “Tots,” the teenage version of totally – which should be banned because of how stupid it is. And if Vampirella vs. Fluffy was supposed to show how annoying Buffy could be, they nailed it – especially during her fight with Vampirella. I can’t help but relate to Vampirella as she complains about how annoying Fluffy is, which does make the moment funny at the expense of being annoying.
But the story can get an uncomfortable chuckle out of you: uncomfortable because when you talk about (inevitable spoilers) Puritans killings teens who are having sex that are gaining power from repressed sexual desires during abstinence week, you can’t help but cringe after chuckling. Death is not supposed to be taken seriously, nor anything else in this comic, but when you hear that there are people getting killed for having sex… I sometimes felt insensitive for not caring. Except there is one moment where Rahner seems to want us to care when a main character is killed off towards the end. Her friend reacts accordingly for a panel and the death is then quickly forgotten. Why have it in at all?
While I like the name choices, I’m sure every teenager in this book wants to kill their parents because of them. The name choices are meant to satirize characters, but don’t have much thought going into them. “Buffy” was simply changed to “Fluffy” – the joke, I suppose, being that she is anything but. “Cordelia” becomes “Carmilla.” “Xander” required no thought from writer David Rahner, who simply slapped an “X” onto a random name and made the fictitious name “Xtanley…” which after mulling it over makes sense. “Xander” isn’t a real name, and Buffy creator Joss Whedon probably went through the same steps to create his name. Also, using the names “Fluffy,” “Carmilla” and “Xtanley” makes the characters automatically recognizable to the reader, despite not requiring a lot of thought to be put together. The one name I had to do a double-take on was “Sallow” instead of “Willow.” After looking it up, “Sallow” is a tree so Rahner’s inspiration is clear – at the result of a teenage girl having possibly the worst name in history. And Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple!
There isn’t much to say about Cezar Razek’s artwork, positively or negatively. The character designs are solid but suffer in long-shots on the panel. They are often neglected on these panels. The same goes for most of the backgrounds, which are often basic colors like dreary grays, but the backgrounds are not what is supposed to be the readers focus, it’s the characters, and when the characters are up close their designs are solid and emotions are clear on their faces. The Puritans are especially drawn well with a hint of gore. Just don’t expect more than what the average title can give you. Nothing is spectacular, but nothing bad.
You get what you expect from this issue: a stupid but fun time when the comedy hits, which could have been much more often. But the fact that the story is about disfiguring Puritans and involves abstinence week makes it almost a must-see-to-believe book that I would suggest picking up only if you have a few extra bucks, know your Buffy facts (Vampirella fans welcome but not necessary), and don’t want to think – just laugh at what’s going on in the panels.