The anti-heroine Vampirella has been around since 1969, and might be most recognizable for her fierce fangs and questionable wardrobe. (Let’s just say it wasn’t very conducive to battling evil.) Like most comic books, her story has been handled by different writers and artists over the years, and the vampiress now finds herself in the very capable hands of Jeremy Whitley. Whitley is most well know for his Princeless series, and Raven the Pirate Princess, which stars a QWOC leading lady. Now with Vampirella, Whitley, along with artist Andy Belanger, colorist Lee Loughridge, and letterer Travis Lanham, is delving into some seriously adult territory.
In this new series, we meet up with Vampirella after she’s defeated Lucifer, but accidentally thrown the world into chaos. She’s a total smitten kitten for her sidekick and roommate Vicki, but don’t let that sweet smile and adorable pixie cute fool you: Vampirella is an undead force to be reckoned with.
This new Vampirella feels like a combination of Jessica Jones and Mad Max, with dusty roads filled with menacing figures, and a mystery to be solved. We know right from the get go that Vampirella will do anything to protect Vicki, and an incident that happens right at the beginning of #8 (Whitley’s first full issue, and the beginning of the new series) tosses the women into an interesting situation, and puts them on equal footing so to speak. (I don’t want to spoil it for you but it’s like a Whitley hit rewind on a particularly common trope.)
If you are used to female forward comics like Princeless and Lumberjanes, Vampirella is definitely a different animal. It drops F-bombs like Hansel and Gretel drop breadcrumbs, it’s brutally violent, and very much in line with comics like Watchmen and Preacher. However, Whitley has always excelled at writing women, and has a knack for queer characters who are vibrant and far from stereotypical.
This is Vampirella and Vicki’s story, and yes, it passes the Bechdel–Wallace test.
Vampirella #8 is available now at your local comic book store and through online retailers.