Writer: Jason Martin
Art: Winston Young, James Stanley, Andrew Mangum & Marlo Maccagni
Colors: Jason Martin
Letterer: Adam Wollet
Publisher: ACTION LAB: DANGER ZONE (May 2016)
Meet Katie Carva … mild mannered comic book store employee by day … and S & M dream with a mystical weapon to kill space vampires at night. After the mob appears for her boss, her life changes forever as she gains the power of Vampblade … who was a character in the 90s. Wait .. wut.
Katie Carva starts out seemingly like a giant horror and fan service heroine, but Martin changes that quite quickly. Martin constructs Katie into so much more. She’s inquisitive. She’s assertive. She’s addicted to the action. We get a world of fan love of comics, gritty crime and interesting mix of horror and sci-fi that just lets itself make its own identity. Sure, Katie is wearing a skimpy outfit that even she calls out, but Martin deliberately makes it that way for not only to let our heroine have sex-appeal, but has intelligence and depth. Katie displays her love of comics and her addiction to the magic she wields openly, making her feel like there’s a lot more to her. Martin also paces these first four issues well. Issue one is the appetizer, allowing the flash and gore suck readers in. Issue two and three world build and character builds, allowing us to learn about the world, Katie, her powers and build up the confrontation that ends this opening arc. Issue 4 ends the first arc with a solid confrontation, an alley, sets up new mysteries and presents us with the status quo. It’s simple, yet very, very effective. Martin makes the dialogue relatable for readers and makes it help color the world that Vampblade lives in. It is interesting meta that Vampblade in the comic was also a comic book and has connections to her enemies presents its own mysteries. This is one of the more masterful strokes Martin does creating this book. There is definitely a lot of love and interest for the character and Martin shows it well with strong characterization, great world building and a lot of fun.
Young definitely has upped his game since his work on Zombie Tramp. There seems to be a bit more defined look with his pencils and they look strong here. There was a lot of stuff to draw, but Young makes it look good. I do also enjoy the art by Stanley, Mangum & Maccagni. The third issue focused on them and were structured well, allowing each artist to really present their work well. Stanley’s style seemed a bit more anime like and seemed to have nice thick lines. It is a little blocky here and there,but still solid. Mangum’s art felt like a 90s comic brought to life and I loved it. The line work was really stellar and want to see more of his work. Mangum’s art captured the 90s comic book art well and was full of great detail and wonderful panel work. Maccagni’s style was playful mix of modern comic book line work with anime influences. It works and works extremely well. It remembers me of a more refined Humberto Ramos with thicker line work. It’s good and fits well. Young makes the conclusion look solid with plenty of detail, sexy fanservice and gritty violence that you definitely take notice. Really solid work.
Kind was wondering what happened with the mob. It just seemed to just show up and then nothing since. It would have been nice to see that the mafia was planning on doing something about what happened, but nada.
Vampblade Vol. 1, aka “I am Vampblade” was a fun romp of horror, sex appeal, science fiction and mystery. The art in the book was varied, but went from good to great. The writing was solid, letting readers learn about our main hero, her world, the people in it and sets up plenty of mysteries alongside the status quo. While there wasn’t follow up to the mob, I did enjoy everything else in the book. Katie’s very interesting and I like the fact that there was geek culture mixed in with very interesting look a heroines who seemed to be noting but sex appeal. There are many things to look forward to in this series. Some readers might not like all the sex appeal, but this is a solid read.