Vampirella Red Sonja #5 – Ok, this was an interesting one for me. This issue was the flip side to issue 4 where we got a solo Red Sonja story. Here we get a solo one-and-done Vampirella story. The only difference is the Red Sonja issue tied in with the overall story arc from issues 1-3, whereas I’m not sure I see that connection in #5.
On the surface, this a good single-issue story about Vampirella’s early days on Earth (1969, but obviously not within the same continuity of the original comics) where she learns some lessons about human nature. After befriending a young woman at a punk rock concert, she busts up a drug/sex trafficking ring in gory fashion only to realize that the people she saved see her as a monster rather than a hero.
I have to say though, I’m not a fan of the characterization of Vampirella here. The issue starts off by showing her hooking up with random women at clubs, making out in bathroom stalls and not being a very admirable person in general. I found this to be totally inconsistent with the character from most of the last 50 years of comics. I get that its (I think) not supposed to be in the same world as original comics, but I still felt this was too far off the mark.
And that brings me to a question that probably won’t be very popular – Is Vampirella ever going to have another male love interest? Up until Jeremy Whitley’s run on Vampirella a couple of years ago, she’s always had male love interests; most obviously Tristan and Adam van Helsing. The Paul Cornell/Jeremy Whitley run was an oddball from the start, taking place in the far future, so I figured her sudden interest in women would be unique to that series. I couldn’t have been more wrong about that. Since that series she’s now had three female love interests and no males (two in Vampirella and one in this issue). So apparently Dynamite is all in on lesbian Vampirella as the new status quo for the character (although I suspect something may develop between her and Benny in Vampirella, but not yet).
I personally think this is absurd when you look at the history of the character over the last 50 years. Yes, I’m one of those troglodytes that thinks its weird when a character’s sexuality is just randomly changed for the heck of it. And I do know a lot of people don’t agree with me about Vampirella’s romantic history here. I mentioned this same thing during the Whitley run and had a lot of people tell me that Vampirella has always been into women. I’ve yet to hear an argument that convinces me of that, but everyone is entitled to their own interpretations and opinions.
Despite all that, I do want to emphasize that this is a good comic. I enjoyed the story and I always like having a few single-issue vignettes like this. It’s something I’d like to see more often in comics, frankly. I’m looking forward to the next issue where we’ll rejoin Vampirella and Red Sonja together, presumably in a different time and place.