Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tie-ins, Part XXIV: Aliens Vampirella #3

Some random Alien stuff, Part 8

While there are NO scantily clad ladies, there are Aliens

Writer – Corinna Bechko
Artist – Javier Garcia-Miranda
Colors – InLight Studios
Letters – Simon Bowland
Editor – Joe Rybandt

I'm just not feeling it. It might be the art, although we are coming off the Wildcats Aliens book where the art was exactly straightforward as it is presented here. It may be that I've reached (gasp!) "Aliens burn-out" although I kinda doubt it, me being such a huge fan and all.

I think the real reason is Vampirella.

See, Vampirella was one of those black and white full-sized mags that I used to dream over as a kid, right alongside the Conan and Savage Hulk books. I wanted all of them, but Vampirella most of all.

Yeah, it all came down to that very revealing costume she wore and my budding sexuality. I was young and in love with a comic book cover.

So the main thing I look for when picking up a Vampirella book is…well, the same thing I saw when I thumbed through those magazines in the Air Force Base BX while my Mom and Dad shopped…namely, this:

Those early magazines were drawn by Jose Gonzalez and were amazing. Set that as your high bar, notice the way we have Vampirella depicted on the cover and then open up the book to find her running around in a purple jumpsuit / parka and try not to be disappointed.

I should be kinder, Poor Vampirella has had it hard. Her origin has been re-written more times than I care to count, all of it in continuity. First she was from a planet of vampires where the rivers were filled with blood that they drank from daily. Those rivers dried up and she was forced to leave in a rocket to Earth. She discovered Earth infested with vampires and dedicated her life to fighting them while also fighting her own need for blood.

Then she came from Hell, and her mother was Lillith, the woman before Eve who was cast out of heaven because she didn't find Adam sexy or something.

Then back to being a space alien.

Then back to being a satanic byproduct but this time brainwashed…

Or something. Just a lot of weird, convoluted history.

I'm not sure which Vampirella is in THIS particular story, but she seems like the space alien one. Also she was very "clingy" in those old magazines, hovering close to whatever man was in the book like an innocent love interest…who could also suck all the life from you at any moment. Yeah, it was kinda sexy. 

And possibly sexist. I'm freely admitting that. But hey, those were the tales I grew up reading and they formed the basis for what I think that character is.

I know, it's the 10's and that kind of stuff don't play anymore. So what we get is a Vampirella who is more like TV show Buffy, running around slaying vampires with no time for romantic interludes or scenes that make young boys hearts flutter.

Maybe the Aliens will do that here, but for a different reason?

Let's see shall we?

Bit of housecleaning before we go. Appears we are in space, on a Martian colony that has unearthed an ancient Nosferatu base (Nosferatu being space vampires, after all) that ALSO housed bunches of Alien eggs. Right now we have a spaceship orbiting the planet (more on them in a minute), Vampirella and the ship's structural engineer trapped by Aliens while exploring the newly discovered Nosferatu base (more on them in a minute) and seven colonists led by these two morons.

They've been watching Vampirella's progress on some kind of camera feed that now shows them…well, what she's run in to.

Their reactions are a bit atypical, with one asking "Is that what a vampire looks like with all its skin removed?" Which brings up a point, in this universe, everyone knows about vampires even if few have seen them. They are accepted as part of the world. Sort of like, "Have you seen Helen? She's become a complete vampire," would have a different meaning than in our universe.

These two blame Vampirella for the Aliens, however, stating she "stirred something up." They don't know what, but they don't like it either.

Meanwhile our trapped hero and heroine, who are both dressed in parkas (sigh) are trapped in the room where the Martian vampires drained their human cattle of blood. Thus there are lots of dead, drained, but well-preserved bodies, a giant vat of blood, and some computers that Vampirella is trying to access. To no good effort, as the computer needs some kind of power source.

Lars, Vampirella's companion, seems mighty handy. Hope he makes it out okay. Who am I kidding, right?

I like the shout-out to Weyland Corporation, the second movie's invisible faceless bad guy of choice. Neat include.

That gets the computer working, even though it is all in vampire…excuse me, Nosferatu language. Vampirella starts searching for info using it.

What that gets us is these shots of four human wranglers using their "human prods" as a defense against the Aliens. Not real effective is what I'm gonna go with.

Miles overhead, Lars' wife goes to the captain with her concerns for her husband's wellbeing.

Her request to take the excavation drop ship down is denied because the captain wants to maintain quarantine and the ship is more like a "bomb" than anything else.

Two things: first kudos on having a captain that sees the Alien threat and gets it. Sorry, boys! You might all be vampire / alien hybrids or worse. Stay away.

Second, why have a ship that is a bomb? If it is a bomb then don't put seats in it. If it is a ship, make it not explode when people fly it. Simple. I'm sure this is a piece of foreshadowing that will pay off when they need a way to "nuke the site from orbit." It just doesn't make much logical sense to have something be both.

And between these two groups, colonist Tucker on the planet has decided to cut his losses. If only he can persuade his chubby companion to do the same. Neither of them care for Vampirella (probably because she's not wearing her sexy red g-string vampire duds) but Lars being an acceptable loss is a point of debate.

Chunky finally sees Tucker's side and they decide to screw up the air handlers.

Back with Vampi and Lars, the wonderful video of vampires being overwhelmed has taken its toll on their moral. They keep searching for something in the electronic map of the base to help them, coming across what could be a Nosferatu sleeping chamber. 

And then they notice one of the Aliens is no longer outside the main door they are barricaded behind.

Which means they could be anywhere. Suddenly cautious, they both start scanning the room. Lars notices it first.

Yeah, and that's a vaguely Alien-shaped shadow in the vat…


One blood covered Alien! And you thought only the little ones were likely to pop out unexpectedly covered in gore…

It springs at Vampirella and she goes upside its head with an industrial-sized cart in one of the books few great sequences. Lars snags a human prod as another comes through the drain…and that’s when Tucker's sabotage of the air handlers kicks in…

And they are forced into a narrow corridor...

This almost gets the fear going. The art is just a smidge off in the character faces, too much for me to give this book more than passing praise. However, I liked this section of the story.

At least until they find the sealed chamber, open it,…

…jump inside, and try to close it quickly…

Wow! I stop the elevator doors every day at my work my arm and THIS scares me more than the Aliens. So the door slices off half an Alien head and spews acid blood into the chamber…

…and onto this poor bastard. Uh, I mean poor vampire bastard. Oh, um, I MEAN poor Nosferatu bastard. Don't worry. He's alright. Really.

Or maybe not.

Whatever. Also Lars and Vampi may not be so safe either as apparently the Xenomorphs know how to dig. But the fourth one doesn't appear to be tunneling through to hit up Lars…

Oh, he's in the garden on the surface. That means the number of people up top is now six.

And soon will be falling.

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