We have some good news for VAMPIRELLA fans or for those curious about the latest issue. Issue #35 is on sale today and we have the writer's commentary by Brandon Jerwa. This is where you can find out what he was thinking or intended to happen on each page.
There will be some spoilers below so be sure to pick up a copy and read along at home.
Following a surprise attack by a new enemy, Vampirella makes a shocking decision. Who is Sister Midnight, and why does she want Vampirella dead? How far will our heroine go to defend her vision of a better future? And where will Adam Van Helsing stand in the aftermath? Answers await within...
Welcome to the world of Vampirella. Even though this is Part 2 of a 2-part storyline, I feel like you shouldn’t be too terribly lost. Still, here’s a basic recap: A recent story gave Vampirella a glimpse into one of many possible futures, and she didn’t like what she saw. This became a catalyst for great change within her.
In the present day, she has opened a sanctuary for monsters in the Rocky Mountains, and struck a deal with the villain Mamba to help her send an invitation into the darkest corners of the weird world. Meanwhile, a new vampire leader named Sister Midnight has taken note of Vampi’s activities, and is determined to end them.
Here’s a look at Sister Midnight – aka Beatrice – and her origin. After earning her place among the Knights Templar last issue, Beatrice was ultimately exiled for being a woman. Turned by a vampire master, she disappeared for centuries. We see now that she was awakened at the turn of the 20th century, after which she is given the power of the Dragus. She is a “new breed” of vampire, the living representation of a pact between bloodsuckers and dragons. Beatrice will inevitably become the leader of the Dragon’s Templar.
“Sister Midnight” is the name of an Iggy Pop song. If you go back to the earliest issues of my run, you’ll find that Iggy Pop has come up a couple of times, always connected to the character of Criswell. You can chalk it up to coincidence, or writer’s whim, but I wanted to have some points that keen-eyed people might connect along the way, without going into a huge explanation every time. Take the time to read my full run, and you’ll find a few.
Vampirella’s mountain sanctuary has been infiltrated by a little girl who turned into a massive dragon at the end of last issue. This girl came to the sanctuary after the aforementioned recruitment/invitation effort that Vampirella coerced Mamba into helping her with. Well…”coerced” is maybe the wrong term; Mamba was being held prisoner, and Vampi was going to make things uncomfortable for her if she didn’t help. Vampirella is ultimately a hero, but she’s not above playing dirty pool if it serves the greater good.
Meanwhile, Sister Midnight and her Dragon’s Templar Knights are using the dragon as a distraction, allowing them to begin their airborne assault on the mountain fortress. They’re finding considerable resistance from the Scarlet Legion, an army of female religious zealots (and the android sentries I’ve added to their ranks) who also believe that Vampirella is a key figure in the battle between Order and Chaos. Adam Van Helsing and Pantha are doing their part to defend the base as well.
I wanted the first confrontation between Vampi and Sister Midnight to be a great annoyance to our leading lady. She’s exhausted by the constant stream of villains working against her, and I think it shows. Unfortunately, she’s facing an opponent who has studied her for a long while, and came to this fight loaded for bear.
One of the things I love about the character of Vampirella is the versatility of interpretation. I can have a close-quarters horror story, go cosmic sci-fi, and then shift gears right into a big superhero battle. There’s no denying the use of that dynamic here.
I couldn’t resist having Adam say “Men can fight, too” in this scene. He’s one of the few male characters on the good side, and he’s surrounded by literally dozens of women who certainly don’t need his protection. The moment of levity is undone quickly, as the readers see what the heroes don’t: One of the Dragon Knights has managed to make his way into the fortress.
Ah, there’s the twist: Mamba’s capture (a few issues back) was no lucky break; she was also under Midnight’s thumb, and she’s definitely about to regret that decision.
The tide is turning…or maybe not. Vampi manages to hold her own, but it’s temporary at best. Adam Van Helsing gets to save his girlfriend for a change, and what does he have to show for it? A cracked jaw, after Sister Midnight plays some mind games that make Adam unsure of who’s who. Vampi has no choice but to knock him out cold before he shoots the wrong attractive female vampire.
This interlude connects to last issue, where a British reporter named Delray March decides to investigate some recent Vampirella sightings. The only problem: he can see Vampi when other people can’t.
He was intercepted in his quest by…well, God. If you know your comic creators, you’ll see that I’ve imagined this particular deity as my good friend Taki Soma. It was perfect timing: I wanted a unique version of God, and Taki’s birthday was coming up. Heubert Khan Michael was happy to oblige, and Taki was quite happy with the surprise.
This book is ending with issue 38, and there are a lot of little things that are being put into play for the finale. Delray March and his holy lunch date are definitely part of that equation, but that’s all I can say for now. I do think the idea of God rejecting a literal Deus ex Machina is pretty funny, but your mileage may vary…if you don’t like funny stuff.
Kind of strange for the villain to give such specific information about how someone might take over her job, don’t you think? This is a very confident woman, folks…but she probably should have done a better job of watching her back.
Is Mamba’s surprise attack really just a moment of self-satisfaction, or a possible indicator that Vampirella’s plan (to unify the scary monsters and super creeps of the world) is actually starting to resonate? That debate will have to wait for a while, because Midnight just won’t stay down.
The Dragon’s Templar Knights are just full of nasty tricks. Sharknado’s got nothing on these guys. Things are looking pretty dire for our heroes…
Vampirella, please come to the head of the class! Get it? Head? Because…she...uh…hey, that’s pretty grim. Yes, I know that Vampirella has shed an ocean of blood over the course of her career, and is certainly not above the occasional dismemberment, but that kind of savagery has been in the rearview mirror for a while now.
Her allies are shocked less by the violence of the act, and more by the idea of Vampi taking control of a small army that, not five minutes prior, had been leaving a trail of ruination and death right across her front yard. Vampi’s decisions over the last couple of months have been surprising enough for her supporting cast, and this development is a huge concern on top of a pile of questions.
Uh-oh…looks like relationship trouble is on the horizon. When God says, “I’m not telling you what to do”, she is totally telling you what to do. Adam Van Helsing may love Vampirella with all his heart, but he’s not afraid to tell her how he feels. At least he’s smart enough to put on some armor first.
VAMPIRELLA #35 is now on sale.