The Vengeful Vow of Chastity
If all of your dreams and ambitions were destroyed in a single night following a monstrous attack, you’d probably harbor a few vengeful thoughts.
But if your normal life, full of promise and potential, was destroyed by a vampiric attack, you’d definitely want vengeance on the creatures who transformed you.
That’s the situation in which Chastity Marks finds herself in Chastity #1, the premiere issue of a Chaos! series relaunch by Marc Andreyko & Dave Acosta. By the time you finish the first issue, you’ll sympathize with the vengeful vow of Chastity to get payback on those responsible for her transformation.
"We’ve been very deliberate in putting together the creative teams for the Chaos! books, as we rebuild this beloved universe," Dynamite CEO and publisher Nick Barrucci said. "With so many acclaimed books under Marc Andreyko's belt, such as Batwoman and Manhunter, he is the perfect choice to spearhead Chastity's ongoing series!"
Andreyko offered some background regarding the young girl who is destined to play a major role in the Chaosverse. “Chastity Marks is a teenage girl living in New York City in the 1980s. She’s a former gymnast who had Olympic potential until a career-ending injury put her at odds with her overbearing and disappointed mom. Then, one night, everything in her life changes in a most bloody way...”
How close is Andreyko’s take on the character to the original Chaos version? “Well, she’s still a teenager, she still looks much the same... and she still hates vampires! However, I tweaked her origin a bit, as the ‘punk rock chick’ felt a little creaky in today’s market. Her family life is also substantially different from the abusive one in the original series. She still suffers verbal abuse and neglect, but the physical abuse is no longer a part of the story.”
"Marc has taken the current conventions of vampires and vampire fiction and spun them into a new backstory for Chastity in a way that is a perfect and seamless blend of the old and new,” Dynamite senior editor Joe Rybandt said.
Chastity is no stranger to the concept of vampires—after being sidelined as an potential Olympic contender, she sought escape in a popular series of vampire novels—but after suffering a vampiric attack, she learns that her reality is nothing like the fiction she enjoyed. But she discovers that she’s not just another vampire. “Chastity is neither fully vampire nor fully human, and her condition doesn’t come with an instruction manual, so she’s flying blind as she tries to adapt to her new status,” Andreyko explained. “As it turns out, her status is so very rare and unusual that it bring her to the attention of the vampire higher-ups.
“Chastity is lucky in that she doesn’t have to survive solely on blood; she can still eat normal food and pass for a normal human. But when she does get a taste of the red stuff, it challenges her control on her humanity and amps up her abilities.”
The vampires that Chastity meets prove to be nothing like the vampires she came to know in the novels that she once enjoyed. To Andreyko, it makes sense that the novels would get things so wrong regarding vampirism. “What if all the popular culture views of vampirism were simply misdirection and manipulation by the vampires themselves?” Andreyko asked. “You don’t survive over the millennia by spilling all your secrets, do you?
“In the world of Chastity, the vampires are sort of a combination of the ‘elegant dandy’ and the ‘vicious monstrosity.’ There are different breeds of vampires—different clans—and they do not get along. They’re like those fighting fish that can’t be in a tank together or else one fish is going to get eaten!” Andreyko explained with a laugh. “There is an uneasy truce between the clans for the survival of their race, but... well, telling more than that would spoil the fun!”
Andreyko has heard some describe Chastity as the Chaosverse’s version of Buffy, but he thinks “that’s a bit reductive. Chastity isn’t doing this for the greater good or to fulfill some destined prophecy—she simply wants revenge. It is deeply personal with her. Chastity has a tone of guilt about her survival, and she’s tormented by her hybrid vampire condition. She is of two worlds now... but she doesn’t really fit into either one.”
Unlike Buffy, she doesn’t have a full support network to assist her in her mission. “Chastity has no one to talk to, no one to help her. No Scooby gang, no Obi-Wan to help her find her way. As a result, Chastity will make mistakes—big ones—and they will have a cost in human lives.”
That doesn’t mean that there will be no supporting cast in Chastity however. “Her little brother Raymond plays a big role, as does her Aunt Candy, who becomes Chastity’s guardian after the events of the first issue. And we meet an incredibly successful author of vampire ‘fiction’ named Alyce Stonecliff who turns out to have an agenda all her own...”
And of course, she has her enemies. “Chastity’s primary antagonists are all vampires, of course. Along the course of the series, she will acquire her own rogues’ gallery, since she makes a lot of enemies; along the way, she will also discover the hidden world of the supernatural that lurks just outside our own reality.”
Will any other Chaos characters play a part in the series? “Well, after Tim Seeley’s Chaos! event series, we’ll have to see where the pieces fall,” Andreyko said, “but I wouldn’t be surprised if Chastity set her sights on a certain red-skinned vampire goddess...”
Andreyko acknowledges that there is no shortage of vampire books on the market today—including Dynamite’s Vampirella—but he stresses that this isn’t just another vampire story. “Chastity is more of a horror-action title, with the emphasis on action. Chastity is a proactive, focused, and pissed-off force of supernature—but she’s also, in some ways, a typical seventeen-year-old girl. The collision of these two lives will lead to all sorts of complications that will put her through the wringer, both physically and mentally.
"Chastity has been a blast to write and update for the post-Twilight, romantic, warm-fuzzy view of bloodsuckers. As Chas and the readers will soon discover: be careful what you wish for. Her adventures will uncover the true faces of supernatural evil as she tries to find a world, any world, to which she belongs."
Chastity #1 by Marc Andreyko & Dave Acosta is scheduled for July release. The book will be offered with a standard edition cover by Emanuala Lupacchino and a subscription variant cover by Tim Seeley; there will also be a Blank Authentix cover edition for readers who’d like to commission a sketch cover... or draw their very own!
Reprinted from CSN with permission.