Vampirella Masters Series, Vol. 1
by Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, various artists (Dynamite, 2010)

The only time I read Vampirella with any regularity was in the 1990s, when Harris Publishing offered a monthly series that did some interesting things with the character.

The bankruptcy of Harris might have been a death knell for the character if Dynamite hadn't stepped up to the plate to buy up Harris properties. Now, with ownership of Vampirella under its belt, Dynamite is taking the character in new directions.

No, wait, they aren't. At least, not right away.

First on the agenda is making money off the property without a big investment. To that end, Dynamite is reissuing early material. The only real hitch to the plan is, much of this material was already collected in trade form within the past few years.

Assuming there are Vampirella fans out there who didn't buy the original comics when they came out or didn't pick up the trades a few years later, Dynamite is offering its Vampirella Master Series. Volume one takes material from the Grant Morrison and Mark Millar years, with a variety of talented artists providing support.

No complaints here on the material. This is some good stuff, which is pretty good considering they had a nearly nude vampire/vampire slayer from another planet/dimension to work with. Let's face it, Vampirella's bright red thong suit does not inspire much serious consideration, but Morrison and Millar made the character work.

One subplot in particular, reprinted here, has stood out in my memory ever since I first read it. A gangster is offered a "Sophie's Choice" moment, choosing which of his daughters will survive -- but the deal doesn't go as planned. And then one of the daughters has her own fatal choice to make.

This ain't great literature, even as comic books go, but I do remember the old Harris series fondly. It's nice to read it again. But remember, this is only a taste; the next book in the Master Series focuses on the work of Warren Ellis.

Basically, if you're a Vampirella fan and haven't seen these stories before, you'll want this book. I can't help but wonder if Dynamite should have built up a collection of new material before reissuing stories that have already been released more than once.

review by
Tom Knapp

22 January 2011

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