REVIEW: Vampirella – NuBlood #1

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Vampirella’s slinging hash in a diner, vampires and humans are hanging out, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria! The Lady in Red has to get to the bottom of rash of crimes related to the latest craze in nosferatu refreshment: NuBlood. Read on in this Major Spoilers Review.

Vampirella-NUBLOOD-cover

VAMPIRELLA – NUBLOOD #1
Writer: Mark Rahner
Artist: Cezar Razek
Colorist: Vinicius Townsend
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Editor: Joe Rybandt
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $4.99

Previously, in Vampirella – NuBlood:  Vampirella, a mystery wrapped in an enigma doused in secret sauce, battles the forces of darkness wherever they may be and from whatever folkloric literary tradition they may come.

UNSURPRISING, SLIGHTLY DISJOINTED
This was a predictable story. Vampirella’s working as a waitress in a town where vampires live out in the open. You see, there’s a new synthetic blood that eliminates their need to feed on humans, so coexistence is possible. Vampirella, while enraptured by the idea of no longer having to feed, decides to investigate the source of this elixir—NuBlood—after shortages cause some minor rioting and murder among the vampires.

The pacing was off and there was at least one deus ex machina that seemed done to save a couple of pages of Vampirella investigating the source of the NuBlood. I don’t understand why this couldn’t have been a short arc in the main “Vampirella” title; that, at least, would have allowed more space to tell the story. There’s nothing in this tale that demands to be told as a standalone.

The less-than-veiled “True Blood” allusions—there are several—not only felt forced, but also a few years too late. If the references were supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, then the intent wasn’t effectively communicated; if earnest, then it’s a literary crutch that failed to support the overall story. Even if the resulting story were derivative it would have felt fresher had the writer approached the story more originally.

There’s a shining glory hidden in this book, though: A back-up feature. The last few pages of the issue are dedicated to a reprint from 1999’s “Vampirella” #20 with art by Bruce Timm. It’s hard to beat a well-written short story with characters that look like long-haired Bruce Wayne and brunette Barbara Gordon. If this book were a little cheaper I’d say to buy it just for this—the art’s really gorgeous if you like Timm’s style.

EVERYTHING IS PRETTIER IN THE DARK
Overall the art is quality work, but it suffers when there are no shadows to play with. Panels that take place in a well-lit factory environment come off as less polished because they lack the visual depth of those in which the artist could use sub-optimal illumination to create a murkier mood. I don’t know if it’s my imagination or not, but it seemed as though the art grew less detailed as the story went on, so maybe there was a time crunch that led to “NuBlood” being hurried into publication.

Cezar Razek’s strength seems to be in illustrating moments—the intimate exchanged characters have with each other or close-up panels that allow the reader to really drink in the moment visually.

BOTTOM LINE: DON’T BUY THIS.
At the end of the day I have but one question: What was the justification for giving this story a one shot? I suppose if you’re a hardcore Vampirella fan you might find a decent adventure story buried somewhere in this pages, but it’s mainly just … lame. I can’t recommend a purchase unless you’re a completist, but it’s worth a try to offer your local shopkeep a dollar to see if he’ll let you buy the back-up feature. Vampirella: NuBlood #1 earns 2 stars.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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