Writer: Dan Abnett
Art: Pasquale Qualano
Colors: Ellie Wright
Letters: Jeff Eckleberry
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: May 24th, 2023
Vampirella Versus The Superpowers #1 continues the story from the Vampirella Vs. Red Sonja miniseries, with Vampirella and Red Sonja becoming members of The Project, a group of superheroes from the multiple Earths of the Dynamite multiverse. Vampirella and Dyna Might (who’s the Dynamite universe equivalent of Mary Marvel) are now living on Projection 1948 (AKA Earth-1948), which is an Earth that’s currently locked in the year 1948, working undercover to find out who the identity of Mr. Fix and take him out. Mr. Fix is a crime lord making millions off of Elixir, a drug peddled on the streets that is highly addictive and gives some people superpowers, turning them into raging monsters.
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The multiverse is all the rage these days. Just about every comic publisher has at least one storyline involving alternate Earths and parallel dimensions. Dynamite has only scratched the surface of their multiverse, which is a conglomeration of Earths containing Dynamite’s many properties. The Vampirella Vs. Red Sonja miniseries introduced The Project, which is Dynamite’s version of The Justice League, with members from multiple Earths and a satellite headquarters situated at the nexus of all the dimensions in the multiverse. It’s a cool concept, and I hope to see more of Red Sonja interacting with the team in the future, but for now, we get Vampirella and the spunky Dyna Might in action on one of the Earths.
The Earth they’re on is locked in the year 1948, so all the trappings of that time period are here: gumshoe detectives, Barbara Stanwyck films, burlesque clubs, etc.. This time period is a great setting for the story, with Vampirella running a cabaret-style bar called “Red Menace” and Dyna Might working as a bartender in it. Vampirella is her usual ice cold but sexy self, occasionally taking the stage in the cabaret to belt out a sultry tune.
The book is divided between scenes at “Red Menace” and scenes in another part of the city, as two members of S Division (a division of the police force specializing in dealing with criminals with powers) follow leads on Mr. Fix, battling one of Mr. Fix’s powered henchmen at one point. The two agents seem like they fell out of a buddy cop film like “Lethal Weapon”, with one of them hot-headed and trigger-happy and the other one more rational and calm. From what I’ve seen of them this issue, they’re not very interesting as seem pretty cliché, but maybe that will improve as the miniseries goes on.
Vampirella and Dyna Might, on the other hand, make a great pairing. Vampirella’s iciness contrasts in a fun way with Dyna Might’s spunky exuberance. The Project is also interesting. They seem to operate 180 degrees different from the Prime Directive of “Star Trek”. Where the Federation in “Star Trek” has a rule not to interfere with planetary cultures, The Project has no problems visiting Earths and trying to fix the problems there. This rubs Vampirella the wrong way and we get a good scene where she blasts two members of The Project for interfering in Earth-1948’s affairs.
Pasquale Qualano’s art on Vampirella Versus The Superpowers #1 reminded me of 80’s era Frank Miller’s work. It makes Earth-1948 feel simultaneously grungy and flashy. Vampirella is drawn in a majestic way and Dyna Might’s 1948 attire makes her look like she walked out of a screwball comedy from the 1940’s. It’s a great look for her.
Vampirella Versus The Superpowers #1 is a slightly better than average kickoff to the miniseries. Vampirella is as fun as always and her interactions with everyone around her (including The Project) are fun to read. The S Division officers seem very cliché though, and I found their scenes made the issue drag a bit. Hopefully, they will improve in future issues.