Dynamite's Superhero Experiments with Vampirella, Red Sonja Converge into Unified Story

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Vampirella Red Sonja Project Superpowers

Dan Abnett has been writing one story from intersecting trajectories for the past few months. With Red Sonja: Superpowers, he has used the Project: Superpowers team to bring the She-Devil with a Sword into their overarching continuity. Meanwhile, in Vampirella: The Dark Powers, we've seen Vampi join the team after her own plural Earth (number 0666, naturally) is discovered. Both stories have been similar -- members of the same team traveling to parallel Earths, meeting our vixens, having an adventure, and recruiting them to their ranks.

But in Vampirella's arc, the team begins by being very distrustful of her. She is, in the eyes of many of them who come from more puritanical worlds, a traditional vampire, a thing of evil. Whereas the team that encounters Sonja isn't there for her, but the villain on her world whose metahuman ability attracted their notice. It's only Sonja's ferocious survival skills (which become key to her eventually rescuing them all) that induce them to add her to their numbers.

This week, with Dark Powers #5 and Superpowers #4, the two paths begin to converge, all set to wrap up in Red Sonja: Superpowers #5 next month. After Black Terror has shadowed Vampirella on her home world for a while, ensuring that she can function there as a superhero against the menaces that threaten peace, he has come to place an amount of trust in her. But when he gets word that his own plural world has been destroyed during his absence, he blames Vampirella, and goes on the attack against her. He's also called in reinforcements -- the rest of the Project -- all of whom are ready to fight Vampirella rather than listen. And that's when you realize you probably should have read Red Sonja: Superpowers #4 first.

Sonja's book is a little light on the plot advancement, but key to the overall inclusion of her character on the team. It's what you might call something of an info dump, but done through character interactions that make the chapter entertaining. Sonja has been brought back to the Project's headquarters, where she clashes with some of its members -- notably Black Venus. She is also given a costume upgrade to something that's a bit more modest while also enhancing her abilities and giving her some new ones. Abnett lets the characters act refreshingly naturally: Professor Supermind, Green Lama, and The Sword respond with amusement and excitement when Sonja changes into her new armor right there in front of them; meanwhile, Black Venus and Vana express mortification and embarrassment, and Super-American is deeply outraged at her lack of morals. The clash of cultures is quite enjoyable and I hope we get to see more of this. The chapter ends with the team receiving an emergency distress call -- leading them to the confrontation we just discussed about Vampirella's adventure.

If you'd have told me there was a plan to make Vampirella a superhero, I'd have dismissed it as a misguided idea. If you'd said they could do it with Red Sonja, I'd have scoffed. But Abnett is pulling it off, and really these are just versions of the characters anyway -- doubtful that it will impact their regular books. (Vampirella's origins shift and change all the time, and she's had so many "first meetings" with Red Sonja already that there must be a dozen of each of them floating around the Dynamiteverse.)

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0