The previews of Vampirella #666 billed the book as a fresh start for the horrific hero. Certainly, it is the start of a new storyline titled Vampirella Beyond. Unfortunately, this comic is steeped in the lore of Vampirella and not friendly to new readers.
The story of Vampirella #666 is made up of a series of vignettes. All of these show different versions of Ella, living a variety of lives. In one, she is a school teacher in Los Angeles. In another, she is a vigilante in New York City. Sometimes, she is married. Sometimes, she is single. The only common thread is that every Ella keeps having dreams of a blonde woman who looks like her killing her.
A Good Comic, but a Bad Introduction to Vampirella
The script by Christopher Priest drops various factoids about Vampirella as these vignettes play out. We learn that she’s an alien and she drinks blood. We learn very little about who Ella is as a person, however, and even less about why somebody is giving her the Groundhog Day treatment.
Priest is a great writer and a master of “show, don’t tell” storytelling. However, I fear his attempts to justify the convoluted continuity of Vampirella proves nigh-inaccessible in this case. Established fans may recognize the extensive supporting cast, but new readers will be confused and quickly lost.
Thankfully, the artwork redeems the convoluted story somewhat. Ergün Gündüz is widely regarded as one of the best artists to ever handle Vampirella. His work here is a prime example of why that is so. The coloring is particularly notable for conveying a variety of moods and auspicious auras.
Sadly, Vampirella #666 fails as an introduction to new readers. It is, however, a successful continuation of the excellent work Priest and Gündüz previously presented. I suspect Vampirella Beyond will read better in the inevitable trade paperback collection than it does from month to month.
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