Tuesday, May 14, 2013

We Meet Only In the Shadows

Expected Publication:  August 6th, 2013
Dark Shadows / Vampirella Vol. 1
Written by: Marc Andreyko, Illustrations:  Patrick Berkenkotter & Jose Malaga
Dynamite Entertainment
ISBN-13:  9781606903957

Two legendary vampires meet for the first time in this epic crossover!  Investigating a series of disappearances and murders puts Barnabas Collins and Vampirella on a collision course with each other! Can these two very different vampire heroes set aside their mutual distrust and team up to bring down the notorious and brutal "Big Apple Butcher," or will their bloodthirsty natures destroy them before they can solve the crimes? And who - or what - is pulling the strings of the "Butcher"? The answer is an evil older than Barnabas and Vampi combined! All this, plus appearances by Quentin Collins and Pantha! Critically acclaimed writer Marc Andreyko (along with artists Patrick Berkenkotter and Jose Malaga) brings them all together in an adventure that can only be described as a bloody, and we mean very bloody, good time!

     This was a crossover between the 'Dark Shadows' (1970s) T.V. soap opera fandom and that of famous comic hero Vampirella.  In this story, the heroes combine forces to investigate a rash of murders and disappearances that have a distinctly supernatural touch to them.  Barnabas Collins gets involved because a woman who is descended from one of his victims is killed.  He has sworn to atone by protecting his victim's families, so he must solve her murder.  Vampirella is involved because it's on her home turf.  They fight for dominance and her fun nature clashes with his serious, old-fashioned one.  They also have help from his cousin Quentin Collins and her fellow supernatural friend, Pantha.  The murderers are both historical figures, which was a nice touch in a comic series arc about vampires playing detective.  But the best thing about this series was it's sense of humor.  It was consistently amusing, fast paced and kept me interested from beginning to end with no boredom at all.  It was splashy, gory and colorful in the best way.  The artwork was right alongside the written story, every step of the way. It never detracted from it or felt wrong/misplaced in any way.  The perfect amount of camp was involved, especially when you consider that the main characters are a highly sexualized (practically nude) female vampire, and another vampire from a really cheesy, old soap opera.  Yes, it was fairly predictable and left the door open for further crossovers.  But in this instance, that was perfectly alright with me.  I highly enjoyed it and it's definitely a clever read for comic lovers who want a bit of wit in their speech bubbles! :)  But I will caution that there is copious amounts of blood, violence, nudity, and other adult content.  So be forewarned if you're thinking of reading this one and that bother you.  Overall, recommended to fans of good comics, whether they're familiar with the original fandoms that are rebooted, or not.
VERDICT:  5/5  Stars
**received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via Netgalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is August 6th, 2013.**

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