Vampirella has fallen into a feary tale book and the only way for her to get out is to live through a series of fairy tales retold to suit her unique personality while a pun-prone narrator comments on her actions—much to her annoyance. Sometimes, her personality is temporarily subsumed by the tale, sometimes she is a rather annoyed Vampirella throughout.
Collins’ “Feary Tale” frame is sharp. The narrator is busy gleefully punning, enjoying Vampirella’s discomfiture, and refusing to answer questions, and there are scattered hints of deeper events in the background, another story that might give some information about Vampirella herself. Elaine Lee’s “Vampirella” and the Three Bears” is an unusual twist featuring some rather pathetic and yet still terrifying weres with a quote or two from the familiar tale thrown in in unfamiliar contexts. R. Landsdale and Keith Landsdale take “Red Riding Hood” and move straight to making the tale’s sexual undertones overtones by making Vampirella a pole dancer. She is also solving a serial murder mystery, which she does with finality and style.
I’m not sure who thought of the dilemmas in the first few pages, but Jadson’s art carries the combination of the dangerous and the ridiculous. Vampirella finds herself in the sea on the back of a very toothy shark, facing gigantic rat thugs and in other unlikely dilemmas. Panel shape helps show the scale and strangeness of these interlocking troubles, and the panels themselves are full of action with crazy, busy backgrounds that fit with Vampirella’s disorientation. He also draws a great scary Christmas tree and nutcracker scene. Eman Cassallos nails Vampirella’s athleticism and grim joy in fighting in “Vampirella and the Three Bears” as well as showing the crowded, cluttered store where the aforementioned bears make their living. Eklabuz tackles a sleazy club complete with pole dancing (and a rat on one of the poles), giving Vampirella a chance to look sultry before she faces the villain of the piece in an all-out fight.
Vampirella: Feary Tales is recommended to all those who love twisted fairy tales, puns, and snide comments. They’re also good for people who wonder whether or not they would like Vampirella (I thought I wouldn’t; it turns out I do).
Writer: Nancy A. Collins
Artist: Jack Jadson
“Vampirella and the Three Bears”
Writer: Elaine Lee
Artist: Eman Casallos
“Red Riding Hood”
Writer: Joe R. Landsdale and Keith Landsdale
Artist: Elmo Eklabuz
Colors: Jorge Sutil
Letters: Marshall Dillon