Vampirella, daughter of Drakulon, revels in the supernatural, protecting the innocent from the lurkers that threaten them all. Herbert West, the Reanimator, is devoted to science, and seeks to defeat the oldest of all enemies. When these two cross paths will there be mutual respect, or will their differences drown the world in blood? The crossover begins in VAMPIRELLA VS REANIMATOR #1 from Dynamite Entertainment.
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Blacky Shepherd
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Cover: Johnny Desjardins & Mohan
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: December 12, 2018
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in VAMPIRELLA VS REANIMATOR: Vampirella was created by artist Trina Robbins and writer Forrest J. Ackerman for Warren Publishing back in the late sixties. She has been a hero, a horror host and the subject of multiple comic endeavors and even a movie. Herbert West was the main character of author H.P. Lovecraft’s 1922 short story Herbert West – Reanimator. He and his quest to bring the dead back have also been the subject of multiple comics, movies and audio adventures. Although both are icons of horror, they have never crossed paths until now.
THE QUEST TO CONQUER DEATH CONTINUES…
Somewhere in Mexico, Doctor Herbert West finds himself searching through the tomes of knowledge in an ancient library located in a monastery. His research into the science of reanimation has lead him here, the next step in his pursuit to beat death. However, his concentration on the dusty pages is interrupted by the screams of the monks. The villagers, many victims of a recent outbreak of illness, have been brought back to life and are tearing their way through the human occupants, trails of blood and gore everywhere. West, believing he has found the object of his desire, leaves the scene of carnage, abandoning the dead and dying monks to the tender mercies of his creations.
Elsewhere, a woman runs for her life as she is pursued by a threat she cannot see until it is too late; werewolves. A large pack of the creatures stalks her, preparing to pounce on their prey. From out of the shadows comes a scantily clad woman, her own claws proving that the flesh of a werewolf slices as easily as any humans. Vampirella has arrived and she makes short, bloody work of the woman’s attackers. Within moments, she is feasting on lycan blood and reveling in her own bloodlust.
Herbert West does not know this. He is now deep in the jungles, following his lead to an ancient temple hidden deep there. He is persistent in his mission; not even the glowing, ethereal, bat-like entities he awakens will detour his advance.
Little did he know that these entities were warnings, alarms set by Vampirella to alert her of when the tomb is being trespassed upon. What does this temple hold that demands such precautions, and will Vampirella arrive in time to stop Herbert West from disturbing a most dangerous evil?
A MATCH MADE IN HELL…
When I saw this series was being written by Cullen Bunn (The Sixth Gun, X-Men: Blue)my first thought was, impossible! I have stated on more than one occasion my belief that Cullen Bunn is actually a collective of super talented clones, each one writing like a madman for the glory that the Alpha Bunn. His output is amazing and his work is consistently solid and entertaining. It really is unbelievable how many titles with his name come across my desk each month. Here he keeps his high standards of quality, laying the groundwork for a meeting of horror icons. Herbert West’s voice, I will always hear Jeffrey Combs, is perfect for the character and Vampirella’s is appropriate as well. She has a feel closer to the old Warren character than some of the modern interpretations, and it works for the overall feel of the story. Also, keep a sharp eye out for some nice little Easter Eggs hidden throughout the artwork that pay tribute to the character’s history.
Speaking of the artwork, Blacky Shepherd (Voltron: From the Ashes, Pumpkinhead) lays out some amazing images here. His art has a detail level that is amazing, and the bold decision to do the book in black and white art with spot color just blew me away. If you recall, I mentioned that Bunn’s dialogue and writing felt very reminiscent of the old Warren titles, well, the artwork completes that nostalgic feel. Vampirella originally appeared in black and white, and this feels like a full circle. The most satisfying aspect is the use of limited color splashes. In instances of blood, or Vampirella’s outfit, we get a nice red that pops against the grayscale images and adds a level of pleasure you rarely see today. Additionally, in instances when we see Herbert West’s formula or creatures that have been “re-animated” by West, we get a sickly yellow. It brings the focus to the fact that these are not natural creatures, and draws in the West story background. His Vampirella is not a soft woman, but one who possesses a cut body with defined muscle structure. She looks as if she could actually take on a pack of werewolves, yet still keep the sensuality the character is known for.
BOTTOM LINE: A GREAT STORY WITH STUNNING VISUALS
The crossover is an odd beast. Sometimes it makes little to no sense, but others it clicks perfectly. This is one of those instances where it just clicks. The continuing mission of Herbert West to perfect his formula would naturally lead him to uncover some evil that has a connection to Vampirella. The story flow is very organic and it seems to just work. I look forward to checking out the next issues.
VAMPIRELLA VS REANIMATOR #1 is a great beginning to what could be a bloody good time. The character’s motives mesh perfectly, and it looks like a great conflict is brewing.