VENGEANCE OF VAMPIRELLA #8, available now from Dynamite, has Vampirella fighting for her life to get past Danse Macabre’s defenses and unlock their secret weapon. Thomas Sniegoski’s next chapter, combined with Michael Sta. Maria’s artwork, is filled with bloody action, snappy dialog, and a reveal that promises a turning of the tide in the war against Hell.
Lucio Parrillo’s cover art is nothing short of masterful. The soft lighting gives the scene a dreamy quality, and the demon’s rough embrace is both horrific and sensual. Parrillo is the go-to artist for many Dynamite titles exactly because he delivers such high quality paintings.
I can honestly say I never expected a hellhound to be witty.
Thomas Sniegoski kept the action and forward progress of the story with this issue and successfully added a touch of humor. When Vampirella learns the painful consequences of not being on “the list” to enter Danse Macabre’s lair, Balthazar the Hellhound is tasked with being the world’s most terrifying bouncer. Their banter, both during and after their fight, was laced with dry humor that I enjoyed quite a bit. Meanwhile, Nyx reveals the plan she’s been hatching for control of Earth since before cutting ties with her demon overlords.
This is a strong setup issue where the forces of good and evil begin marshaling their forces for the big showdown. Vampirella assembles the team of Danse Macabre agents, both old and new. Nyx sends her lieutenants to gather their evil brethren into an army. Sniegoski does an excellent job lining up the players with their respective teams and building anticipation for the coming war.
Michael Sta. Maria’s art is consistently good throughout this arc. The amount of explosive action is turned up from prior issues with several full tier panels showcasing magical blasts, alien spells, and the gory destruction of the demon portal. Sta. Maria’s most impressive art in this issue is the fight scene between Vampirella and Balthazar. The fight scene panels are brimming with urgent perspective and power poses. You can feel the impact of every blow.
In addition, the drawing detail is much more refined than prior issues. You can see the quality of Sta. Maria’s precision rising with each new issue. The art in this issue reminds me of the best, earliest books Image produced when they first launched.
Favorite Panel/Page: Speaking of the hellhound battle, the favorite image is the full page panel of Vampirella landing a solid blow on Balthazar on page 11. The action lines are drawn perfectly, and Vampirella’s delivery pose is as graceful as it is deadly.
Omi Remalante Jr’s coloring stands out in this issue for the background colors. The backgrounds are never really meant to be the focal point, but Ramalante Jr’s colors in the sunset and dusk gradients of the sky on several pages actually tie multiple scenes together to give the reader a sense of shared time. It seems obvious to say two or three scenes happening at the same time would have similar color schemes for the environment, but it’s another to see it executed so well when another colorist wouldn’t bother with that detail.
Troy Peteri’s lettering is well executed here. As mentioned before, there’s a lot of explosive action that needs equally explosive sound effects to match. Add to that security alarms, mystical witch blasts, and a crowd of hissing vampires. Peteri seamlessly blends in the sound but keeps the lettering big to emphasize volume. There’s also quite a bit of narration in the beginning, so Peteri kept the action boxes tight and compact to not crowd out the art while maintaining clear readability.
VENGEANCE OF VAMPIRELLA #8 packs in a whole lot of monster fights, explosions, and a little bit of wit to build excitement for the demon war. The writing is solid and that art team is getting better with every issue. I’m anxious to see what happens next. Pick it up.