If Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, has a time machine, of course, it looks like a coffin. Her next thrilling encounter – Edgar Allen Poe. Wanna bet we see a raven?
Writer: David Avallone
Artist: Dave Acosta
Colorist: Andrew Covalt
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 12, 2018
Previously in Elvira Mistress of the Dark: Elvira is working on a horror movie when she goes back to her trailer, gets sucked into a coffin, and finds herself in a villa with Lord Byron, Percy Bysse Shelley, and Mary Wollestonecraft. A shadowy figure has made off with Dr. Polidori, and now that Elvira is there, hijinks ensue. She and Mary lure the monster into the coffin, she gets drawn in, and travels to issue #2.
ELVIRA MEETS EDGAR ALLEN POE
Elvira Mistress of the Dark #2 starts right off with her cheerfully breaking the fourth wall as she recaps the last issue in snappy couple panels. She then suggests that Poe could take her somewhere they could get a drink and she could tell him her tale. Poe is delightfully verbose, could use some story inspiration at the moment, and knows of a nearby tavern. No sooner do they leave the cemetery but the coffin lid slams shut, opens, and out pops the bad guy from last issue.
Elvira tells her story to Poe (off-panel), who is skeptical that he will one day be famous, considering his current state. The barkeep interrupts, with the bottle, inquiring whether they want “More bosoms?” Well, this is an Elvira book. She keeps up a steady stream of references – in this case, related to time travel – until the tavern door is thrown open. It is the bad guy. He knows he’s in a different place again, and the only common element is Elvira, so he demands that she tell him how to get back to where he came from. The barkeep threatens to shoot him; bad guy does a one-handed choke hold on Elvira, and the barkeep shoots him.
End of story? Oh, of course not! A quick celebratory drink, and the bad buy stands up and bares his teeth, at which point Elvira identifies him as Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler). He does have pointy teeth. A bit more clever dialogue and he demands from Elvira the secret of traveling through time. But Poe steps up, and claims to hold the key to metamorphosing reality. And his cabinet of wonders happens to be just down the hall.
In another clever exchange, Elvira accuses Vlad of sticking heads on pikes. He explains it wasn’t just heads; often it was entire people. Alive even. Anyway, he’s happy that he’s still famous. Elvira concedes that yes, he’s widely remembered as the second worst Vlad ever. Who is the first? She doesn’t name him outright, but he’s from her own time period. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)
Anyway, Poe’s big plan was to lure him behind a cask of Amontillado and drop a wine rack on him. That goes about as well as you might expect, and we’re off into a chase scene! Elvira and Poe hop a cab, and Vlad chases them on foot. Elvira tells the cabbie to head back to the cemetery. About this time, Vlad changes shape into a large raven and attacks them. Elvira fights him off with the cabbie’s whip (and a few more jokes), steps into her coffin, and shows up somewhere else in the 19th century, in front of Bram Stoker.
You do not read an Elvira Mistress of the Dark comic book expecting something thoughtful and profound. You expect humor, sexy teasing, and some flirtation with classic horror. And that is exactly what you get here. The plot is slender, but it serves its purpose as a vehicle for the jokes. Still, there is a plot, and there is something delightful about meeting the truly classic horror authors, and Elvira’s being such a fangirl. (Or is that fang-girl?)
I’LL TAKE A LITTLE SASS WITH MY CHEESECAKE
In Elvira Mistress of the Dark #2, the art fits right in with the story. The likenesses are good – well, Elvira, Edgar Allen Poe, and Bram Stoker. I cannot speak as to Vlad Tepes, there not being loads of portraits of him from life. The opening cemetery, with gnarled trees and tilted tombstones, is quite atmospheric. There is a little side vignette which, while cute, is hugely stereotypic – couple walking past cemetery; man looks at Elvira; woman clobbers man with her umbrella. Of all the humor in here, that’s reaching for a pretty low common denominator, and I think the team could have done better. (Or perhaps the team was making a reference to some pretty typical 19th-century humor, but that’s a much deeper cut than I would expect of this title.)
The tavern scene is fun. I do love the care taken with the facial expressions here. In humor, you sometimes need the deadpan, the wild double-take, the over-the-top grin, and they’re all here. Vlad, while imposing, also makes a great straight man for Elvira’s barbs. The cab chase and fight scene are full of action, and more great expressions. If there were any anachronisms in the art, they were slight enough that I could ignore them.
BOTTOM LINE: ELVIRA MEETS CLASSIC HORROR AUTHORS
I think we’ve grasped that one of the main ideas in Elvira Mistress of the Dark #2 is that she is going around meeting classic horror greats. I think you either like that concept, or you don’t. The creative team is certainly having fun with it. I love that this issue is coming out in September – Halloween is just around the corner. Time to dig out the fake cobwebs and spider lights.