Published on May 27th, 2017 | by Richard Boom0
Review: KISS/Vampirella #1; Rock ‘n Roll Legends Meet Horror Comics Icon
Dynamite can be proud to bring together two of its bestselling brands for a horror/music extravaganza in KISS/Vampirella #1, which now marks the debut issue in a new comic book series uniting the legendary rock ‘n’ roll band with the comic industry’s iconic mistress of the macabre! Proud because both iconic brands are bound together in a good way!
The comic is written by Chris Sebela (Captain Marvel, Alien vs. Predator) and illustrated by Annapaola Martello (Scarlet Witch, Spider-Gwen), and showcases not only a younger Vampirella -only 5 years on Earth- but also a younger KISS, who are only just about to record their 2nd album.
The place called Los Angeles is said to be a strange town on the best of days, but with this story set in the summer of 1974, the City of Angels feels especially off…
As it states in the synopsis: As temperatures soar and wildfires burn, all sorts of strange creatures are drawn to town… including Vampirella. While Vampi goes out and hunts down monsters all across La La Land – defending humanity from evil – she’s also killing it every night on stage as a member of an all-girl rock group – defending rock ‘n’ roll from a dying scene. Help arrives in the form of four creatures who’ve just flown into town: The Starchild, The Demon, The Spaceman, and The Catman. Away from their home turf and trying to record their new album, KISS discovers that all their favorite L.A. bands have mysteriously broken up, disappeared, sold out, or gone crazy. Led by a driver who moonlights in the occult and haunted by satanic strangers dressed in black, KISS finds themselves drawn into a web of conspiracy that threatens to kill rock ‘n’ roll itself!
I have to say that setting the story in the 1970s, in the start of both Vampirella’s as well as KISS’ careers, sure is a good find from the writer, making the story feel fresh and inviting, with a Vampirella as well as KISS looking just as fresh and inviting!
Both icons are bigger then life and to have them in their early career leaves more room for development of all characters and even have them unsure what to do when the action starts and the demonic shitstorm hits the fan.
In this first setup-story KISS is still gaining momentum, with which I mean in this story. Not as band but as team and how to view the world. They know all the right folks and know they have a certain stature by now, but as part of the story it is still gaining momentum. They are meeting up with folks and appear to be the ‘item’ to establish the odd things happening to all the clubs and the complete rock’n’roll-scene of the city. In a few panels related to the band but not wíth the band, there are seeds planted for the rest of the storyline and to make the read itself intriguing as if growing with anticipation on how these teasers and little seeds will be developed further on in the story.
Vampirella is seen often as a kind of lone monster hunter, even though her Mystery Walk, her time with the nuns or as part of the Traveling Circus etc. seem like she is indeed part of a group but still a loner at heart. In this story today we see her in a group situation, where she is in an all-girl rock group with a witchy gimmick, called Witchkraft.
Although again a costume change for our fan-favorite lady, it does make sense this time (as is not not not the case in her ongoing new series) with her group-affiliation, which has this punk-rock, torn jeans kinda look and feel.
The fun thing for me as reader (and huge fan) is that Vampirella is making contact spontaneous with a new side-kick (Lily) just by showing off her righteous motives, her kick-ass attitude, her supernatural strength and her positive vibe and stance in life.
Well, this sure reads as if writer Sebela knows what to do, what works for both icons and it feels as if working together with artist Martello is close enough to give the artist also a free reign to deliver the story-telling and such a fashion the story again has this fresh feel to it.
What I especially feel like a strong feature of Martello’s art is the way in which arms, body language, facial expressions are done. Especially in the Lily/Cella-sequence at a terrace it strikes as a strong feature!
There is only one little quirk in the story I can come up with this first impression and that is the moment where Rella is talking to Lily about her true nature. The editor should have spotted the irregularity here, and it would have been a complete and great read. Bigons… on to the next issue with arms wide open!
Writer: Chris Sebela
Art: Annapaola Martello
Genre: Horror, Rock ‘n’ Roll
Publication Date: June, 7 2017
Format: Comic Book
Page Count: 32 Pages