REVIEW: 'Vampirella vs Red Sonja' #1 by Dan Abnett, Alessandro Ranaldi, and Ellie Wright



Writer: Dan Abnett

Artist: Alessandro Ranaldi, Ellie Wright

Letters: Jeff Eckleberry

Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment

Release Date: November 2, 2022

Cover Price: $3.99

It's a monumental clash of titans that had to happen, from master storyteller Dan Abnett! Both Vampirella and Red Sonja were recruited by the Project, a cosmic collection of superheroes sworn to protect all known universes. But Vampirella is now considered a murderous criminal - and she's capable of defeating any hero. Unfortunately for her, Red Sonja is no hero... It's a universe-spanning, action-packed battle royal from start to finish, by Dan Abnett (Dejah Thoris) and Alessandro Ranaldi (Jennifer Blood)!


★★★★☆ (4/5)

Dynamite covers can be a little misleading especially when it comes to Red Sonja and Vampirella. The beautifully illustrated covers and variants capture an alluring, dramatic, and sometimes sexy version of these legendary characters. So, no, they are not at each other's throats as depicted on the cover by Lucio Parrillo. Instead, the two do find themselves on opposing sides as Vampirella is seen as a criminal and a threat because of her magical powers while Sonja has aligned herself with a team of scientific masterminds who make up a team of superheroes. In this dense, convoluted, version of Dynamite's own 'Crisis on Infinite Earths,' the dynamic duo are supporting characters as the reader is introduced to a myriad of original superheroes that make up this universe. 

Much like the multiverse dilemmas found in DC Comics and Marvel, Dynamite has their own full of heroes patrolling various numbered dimensions. A dark presence has begun attacking these worlds and locking the heroes out of the portals that could bring them there to challenge these magical forces. The story is told through the perspective of a new recruit, the rookie hero Dyna Might, who provides all the details on who's who in this version of the Justice League Watchtower through her narration. There are a lot of characters, all well known to Dyna as she's in awe to be among them. So the majority of the issue is getting to know the heroes and understanding what the big crises are. 

It's a fun issue, sure to include Sonja and Vampirella more in the coming chapters. There are a lot of familiar personal conflicts between the heroes and a debate over science and magic. Comic fans will recognize the homages to the Big Two storylines as they try to figure out how to save the multiverse. The relationship between Sonja and Vampi is a little contentious as Sonja calls her a daemon over and over again. Vampi seems amused by it and doesn't understand why she's considered a threat to these heroes but doesn't seem phased. Sonja takes on a stilted way of talking, writer Dan Abnett attributing the weird but charming speech to the AI translation of her native language. There's a lot of world-building and explaining in the first issue but that's to be expected for a series this ambitious. 

Alessandro Ranaldi and Ellie Wright do a wonderful job of providing a colorful landscape within this space fortress. It's well-paced for an issue with so much dialogue. Ranaldi's designs and perspectives keep the story from becoming stagnant and the sense of wonder in Dyna's face is delightful. The titular stars get a makeover themselves with new looks and what little action there is looks ominous but without much context. 

'Vampirella vs Red Sonja' is an ambitious interdimensional multiverse crisis with our daring heroes along for the ride. Jam-packed with original Dynamite heroes there is a bit of a learning curve to get familiar with as they embark on a battle between science and magic. It has the potential to be a lot of comic book fun and hopefully, Vampi and Sonja will be more involved than they are in issue one. All in all, 'Vampirella vs Red Sonja' sets a new course for adventure for Dynamite in what could be an action-packed event.