Vampirella Versus Red Sonja #3 Review

Writer: Dan Abnett
Art:  Alessandro Ranaldi
Colors:  Ellie Wright
Letters: Jeff Eckleberry
Publisher: Dynamite! Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 4th, 2023

Vampirella finds some allies amidst the multiversal heroes of the Dynamite Universe in Vampirella Versus Red Sonja #3.  Meanwhile, as the Netherborn and its millions of demons swarm across the Earths of the multiverse, Red Sonja and a team of superheroes battle the Netherborn itself on one of the Earths.  It’s an intense issue filled with superheroes, swordplay and H. P. Lovecraft-style cosmic horror.

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The Story

Except for a few scenes in the first issue, Vampirella Versus Red Sonja barely has the two characters together, and they definitely haven’t fought. Vampirella Versus Red Sonja #3 is no different, as Vampirella is on the Project HQ, a satellite sitting at the nexus of the multiverse, and Headquarters for the Project, Dynamite’s team of Justice League-style heroes.  Last issue, she convinced Dyna Might, the Captain Marvel, Jr. style hero, to release her from her cell so she can help stop the Netherborn’s destruction of the multiverse.

This issue, Vampirella finds an ally in another hero, and they quietly gather more allies as Super-American (the Superman-type leader of the Project) and his faction of the team try to find a scientific approach to stopping the Netherborn.  Super-American is firmly anti-Vampirella and wants to keep her locked up. It’s fascinating watching Vampirella win allies to her side under Super-American’s nose.  It’s like reading an issue of “Justice League of America” where Zatanna gets Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Hawkman to help her kill Lex Luthor and hide it from Superman. As Vampirella and her allies go deep into the Project Library Archives to find more information on the Netherborn, they find a startling secret that’s going to have huge ramifications for all the heroes involved.

I’ve been loving Dan Abnett’s version of Vampirella throughout this mini-series.  She’s confident, intellectual and charming.  She doesn’t even need her vampire powers to win over some of the heroes, she just hits them with common sense.    She’s also wonderfully unapologetic for who she is, embracing magic and the supernatural, and that rubs many of the science-obsessed Project heroes the wrong way. Meanwhile, Red Sonja and another band of heroes are on Earth 6337, battling demonic hordes and trying to stop this Earth, which is the hero Black Terror’s homeworld, from being overrun.

As great as Dan Abnett’s Vampirella is, I find his Red Sonja lacking a bit.  She’s still a very bold and formidable warrior, but throughout this series, she talks like The Hulk, in very simple sentences.  This is explained as her speech being translated for the other heroes by a device, but it makes her seem almost comical at times, despite the fact we get some scenes of her kicking ass too.

Still, like Vampirella, the other heroes are starting to listen to her more, because in this new universe of demons, monsters and magical menaces, Red Sonja’s an authority.
The Netherborn reveals itself this issue to Sonja and her team, and it’s visually stunning, like a goliath-sized version of the horror from John Carpenter’s film “The Thing”, and we get a great battle scene with it. Overall, it’s a good third chapter of the story, with some great reveals and action throughout.

The Art

Alessandro Ranaldi’s art on Vampirella Versus Red Sonja #3 is short on detail but his characters and creatures are drawn with great expressiveness and in the case of The Netherborn, just the right amount of grotesque horror. I especially love the way he draws Vampirella, with her doe eyes and slinky posture, looking simultaneously cute and sinister.  Her look reminds me of a young Shelley Duvall.

Final Thoughts

Vampirella Versus Red Sonja #3 is another thrilling chapter of the mini-series.  Despite the fact Red Sonja and Vampirella are barely together during the mini-series so far, the “Crisis on Infinite Earths”-type story of the multiverse under attack and Vampirella and Red Sonja being involved in the politics of the Justice League-style team the Project is fascinating and I look forward to seeing what happens next.


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