Writer: Christopher Priest
Art: Michael STA. Maria and Ivan Nunes
Letterer: Willie Schubert
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
Release Date: February 9th, 2022
Draculina, daughter of Lilith of Drakulon and the antithesis of her sister Vampirella, swoops into her own series in Draculina #1. She’s brutally violent, borderline psychotic, and insatiably hungry. Yep, nothing bad here, except for the fact that a cursed candle causes her to switch bodies with a 13-year-old streetwise scamp named Katie when she sleeps, which really rattles Draculina’s fangs, and she’s going to do whatever it takes to break the curse.
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Draculina #1 begins with the introduction of Imogen, walking the streets of San Francisco in a split-page format, with an image of her on the left side and a Joan Didion-style narrative on the right, giving her description of the city. She hates it. I’ve never been to San Francisco, but this magnificent (though biased) overview of it makes me glad I went to Denver Colorado on my last vacation instead. Sure, I nearly got bit by a rattlesnake while hiking there and got some gnarly altitude sickness when I got to 14,000 feet above sea level, but I still consider it a win.
Anyway, I’ve rarely seen a better introduction to a character, especially a supporting character, and I loved it.
We’re also re-introduced to Katie, the girl who’s had the misfortune of being linked to Draculina. Katie’s an interesting character in her own way, but comes off as a bit cliché, a streetwise young punk girl who looks and acts like she walked right out of the film “Switchblade Sisters”. You can’t help feeling sorry for her, since she appears when Draculina sleeps, and vice versa, so it’s not much of a life, especially when you’re waking up next to one of Draculina’s blood-soaked victims.
Imogen shows up at Katie’s door and it appears she’ll be a mentor of some kind for Katie. The two play off each other nicely, with Katie’s openness and honesty about everything clashing with Imogen’s “mystery woman” style of talking in riddles and omens. Since this is Draculina’s book, we get to see her in action too, which is pretty much watching her decimate various people, partially for blood to feed herself, but also to collect the pieces of an amulet that she hopes will break her free of her link with Katie. Weirdly enough, Draculina’s scenes are the weakest of the issue, merely watching her move her plan along a few clicks.
It’s obvious she’s the “villain” of the series, and Katie and Imogen are the “heroes”.
And there’s the problem, because other than Marvel’s Darth Vader comic, or maybe The Joker comic from DC, I can’t think of other any book starring a villain that’s had a long run. Villains just don’t make good headliners, because if they win, the story’s over, and if they keep failing, people lose interest. Christopher Priest is a great writer, so if anyone can make this book a success it’s him, but Draculina was the least interesting character in this issue. I hope he adds more layers to her in the issues to come.
Michael STA. Maria’s art on Draculina #1 reminded me a lot of Ergun Gunduz’s art on the Vampirella book, very stark details, with the quiet scenes showcasing great expressions on the characters’ faces and the violent scenes being palpable and brutal.
At one point in the issue, Draculina hurtles an ax into a person’s head, and you can practically feel it land when she does so. Draculina is drawn in a savage menacing fashion. The opening scenes of the book showcase San Francisco, giving a good feel for the details of the city that complement the text narrative perfectly.
Draculina #1 kicks off the series with two great supporting characters and a mildly interesting lead character. There’s enough here to make me want to continue with the series and I hope Draculina is given more complexity in the future beyond just pontificating and ripping victims apart.