Writers: Sara Frazetta & Bob Freeman
Art: Alberto Locatelli
Colors: The Brewing Factory
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: October 4th, 2023
Vampirella goes gothic in Vampirella: Dead Flowers #1. There’s a creaky old mansion, ghosts, werewolves, and atmosphere to burn. There are also vampires, of course, as Vampirella is dropped in the middle of it all courtesy of her old nemesis Baldassare Fechin (what a name!), who dies but curses her with one last vengeful act before passing away. He leaves her in his will?
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Vampirella: Dead Flowers #1 takes its time setting up the plot, letting us take in all the gothic trappings of the story as well as giving us time with Vampirella and her assistant, the witch Hattie. The book feels different from other Vampirella books. Where most Vampirella books feel like a combination of Hammer horror and modern action films, this book feels more like a great episode Dark Shadows, that legendary gothic TV soap opera that ran from 1966 to 1971. And that’s a good thing! I like this vibe change that tones down Vampi a bit, though she still has a moment in this issue where she goes into action and cuts loose. She’s thrust into Fechin’s mansion as clueless as we are and like the best gothic horror stories, things are revealed to Vampi (and us) slowly as she meets the other people in Fechin’s circle and explores the creepy halls of Fechin’s mansion with Hattie.
Hattie is a fun character. I wasn’t familiar with her and wasn’t sure if she was created specifically for this book or was an established character. She seems to be a witch, able to cast spells, and she’s as fierce as Vampi. One scene where she and Vampi fight a revenant (basically a vengeful spirit) is thrilling and I look forward to seeing more of Hattie as the miniseries progresses. The other characters in the issue are pretty one-dimensional but hopefully will be expanded on later.
I really enjoyed this issue. I love gothic horror and the story delivers all the trappings of that genre beautifully. As Vampirella walks through the haunted corridors, I could picture the hallway candles flickering from a chill draft seeping through the walls. It’s great seeing Vampirella featured in different types of stories like this. Dynamite has also been doing a series (Vampirella vs. The Superpowers) that puts her in a more traditional comic book role as a superhero figure. Experimenting with different genres like this keeps Vampirella fresh and I’m all for it!
Alberto Locatelli’s art on Vampirella: Dead Flowers #1 has an ethereal feel to it. Vampirella has rarely looked more gorgeous and the characters and setting all look straight out of Daphne Du Maurier’s classic novel “Rebecca”. Everything has a timeless look and feel to it. It’s minimalist art that still manages to convey a lot of detail and mood.
Whether or not you’re into the gothic horror subgenre, pick up Vampirella: Dead Flowers #1. It puts Vampirella in a different environment from her usual tales and there’s a wonderful atmosphere of creepiness and dread throughout. Recommended.