• Kiss Vampirella #2

    Kiss Vampirella #2
    Released by: Dynamite Entertainment
    Released on: July 5th, 2017.
    Written by: Christopher Sebella
    Illustrated by: Annapaola Martello
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    “It’s 1974. Vampirella has been on Earth for five years now, having landed here from her home planet of Drakulon in search of evil things to kill and trying to make sense of her new world. Vampu’s mission has taken her around the world, destroying all sorts of demons and monsters, bringing her to Los Angeles, where her dance card is packed. KISS, on the heels of their debut album and a non-stop touring schedule, are taking a break from the road to record their second album, “Hotter Than Hell.” Shaking things up a bit, they’re leaving their home turf and flying to Los Angeles. What’s the worst that could happen?”

    This second issue picks up, not so surprisingly, where the first one left off. Vampirella and her new pal Lily explore a creepy back room and, in doing so, uncover a black mass of sorts. Vampi tells Lily to run. Lily does as she’s told, while our heroine indulges in mortal combat with the cultists who mutter things like ‘blood for the machine’ while trying to stab her to death. It doesn’t work. Despite the fact that she’s basically skewered, she takes them all on… except for one who splits. Vampi leaves the building and is picked up in a car by Lily and after chasing him down realize that…. well, this guy isn’t human. Not even close.

    Cut to the four guys in KISS (for the purposes of this review it’s Gene, Peter, Paul and Ace) and Paul’s understandably upset about having just seen some guy leap twenty stories down, presumably to his death. But he’s clearly not dead – so they’re confused, and Hell-bent on sorting this out! They have their driver follow the mysterious van that the guy who should be dead but isn’t hoped into. They give chase, tossing a bottle at the van while dodging arrows from the cross-bolt fired by some bad guy in the van. As they close in on the van, they see the inhuman monster that Vampirella is squaring off against, a beast that their driver recognizes as a ‘hellbreach demon.’ Apparently they’re more common than you’d think. This driver, Ulysses, knows more than he’s been letting on, he’s clearly quite in tune with Los Angeles’ occult roots.

    Vampirella pulls out the sword that was thrust through her and puts it to good use while the guys from KISS take their instruments out of the trunk of their limo and prepare to fight the cult members that were holed up in the back of that van all this time. Vampi and Lily? They take shelter at The Chantry, where Lily meets the rest of her band and realizes who/what they really are. And KISS? To get the inspiration they need for their recording session, they head out into the night to find some real rock n roll…

    If Vampirella and KISS haven’t met yet, it’s clear that they will, probably next issue. For now, Christopher Sebella’s story is getting there, building each side of the story well enough to hold our interest and make us want to know how it is all going to play out. It’s clear that they have a common foe even if just exactly how and why they share that foe needs to be explained in upcoming issues. Either way, this is a fun read. KISS are not really the deepest characters here, they’re ‘rockers’ out looking for a good time, out to cut that new record and check out some of L.A.’s finest while in town, but Sebella writes them well. Vampirella’s side of the story is, maybe not surprisingly, a fair bit darker and given her history that makes sense. We’ll see how her relationship with a fairly naïve Lily works out. Either way, it’s a fun read. The artwork from Annapaola Martello is gritty and sketchy but at the same time nicely detailed and well laid out. The colors from Valentina Pinto accentuate the style nicely and we get good detail in both the foregrounds and the backgrounds of the issue.