• Kiss Vampirella #3

    Kiss Vampirella #3
    Released by: Dynamite Entertainment
    Released on: August 9th, 2017.
    Written by: Christopher Sebella
    Illustrated by: Annapaola Martello
    Purchase From Amazon

    “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?”

    When issue three beings, Vampi and the rest of her band, Witchkraft, are on stage. She thinks back about her early days on Earth and how she hooked up with these three women, trying to stay in synch with her bandmates and not get distracted by the four guys with painted faces in the crowd at the front of the stage. The guys in KISS? They’re impressed, they hang around after the show to buy the girls some drinks. And that’s exactly what they do. Witchkraft and KISS hang out, talk about the local scene, how it’s dying off… almost as if someone were killing it off. When the drinks are done, KISS invites them to the studio to jam.

    Since the band’s van is packed, Vampi decides to take her own method of transportation. When she sprouts wings and flies over to meet them, she doesn’t realize she’s spotted by a stranger. With KISS and Witchkraft now at the studio, a vagrant approaches Ace and asks for a pick. He obliges, it’s not a big deal, right? Except that the vagrant then heads over to a guy wielding a giant curved sword… that’s probably not a good sign. Regardless, inside the studio Vampirella is waiting – no one is sure how she got there before everyone else, but they don’t question it. As they jam and get to know each other better they also talk about how all the bands in the area are gone, like they just got up and left. As the guy with the curved sword assembles his troops, KISS tells Vampirella about what happened the day before when they met that guy who was out of it, mumbling about his band and being the last one left.

    And then KISS’ driver show up and tries to kill Vampirella. It all goes south from there…

    Good character development in this issue. The Witchkraft girls get to know KISS, sure, but KISS are just KISS at this point. No, the character development mostly comes from Vampirella’s internal monologue about her fate on this planet, how she fell into music, what it means to her as a real life ‘monster’ and how she does or doesn’t fit in. This plays out later in the issue as well during a conversation that she has with Lily, where we get some welcome background information on her as well, making the connection she has with Vampirella all the stronger. At the same time we also learn the truth about KISS’ driver and what he’s really in Los Angeles for in the first place. Of course, it all ends with a cliffhanger that is clearly meant to keep us hanging on until the next issue – it’s effective, Christopher Sebella’s writing on this series is solid and he ensures that we want to know how it’s all going to end. As to the artwork, well, Annapaola Martello’s pencils are really strong. Lots of nice detail here, a good sense of movement, and even the scenes where the band(s) play have a nice sense of flow to them, which is interesting because comics don’t usually ‘look musical’ when bands are worked into stories and what not. Valentina Pinto’s coloring work is also strong, complementing the pencils nicely. All in all, it’s a fun read – I was pretty skeptical about this when it was first announced but so far, three issues in to the five issue storyline, the creative team is pulling it off surprisingly well.