Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella & Jennifer Blood #1 brings the two hard-fighting heroines face to face. The issue also reveals more about the chaos spreading through the worlds as the messenger stops being mysterious long enough to answer a few (a very few) questions.
The pacing in the book is uneven. It begins well, as Nancy Collins gives both women an immediate objective and reason to be out stalking the streets in their towns. There is a serial killer around, one who is literally tearing through local women, and neither woman puts up with other monsters. He is introduced early on as Tahquitz, a corrupted shaman, and I can’t help thinking that there are plenty of non-Native American “exotic” backgrounds to pull from, particularly in that universe. Still, the motive is sound and plays on the similarity between the women right from the start. Vampirella’s current associations and work are given concisely as she stalks her prey. Jennifer Blood’s backstory takes three pages, rather a lot in a book this size. While it is good to know who she is, the information is dumped rather than worked into the story. Once Vampirella reaches Jennifer’s neighborhood, the pace picks up again, and the two women have an extremely impressive introduction and strong reactions to one another.
Like the tale’s beginning, the art has its good and bad sides. The bikini bat that has recently been added to Vampirella’s costume is extraordinarily awkward. It is a singularly odd decoration(?) to put on a woman who has absolutely no need for more sex appeal. Other than that, Dave Acosta does a fine job of showing just how dangerous both Jennifer Blood and Vampirella can be. They move like hunters, and their prey like a bulkier animal. Acosta and Valentina Pinto also construct suitably creepy, run down environments: The Ferris wheel with its lights on in the opening panel could be cheerful, but everything is dimmed and blurred enough to make it look dangerous instead, and the roller coaster looms over the park. Jennifer Blood’s rundown neighborhood is shabby in an entirely-to-recognizable way.
Although this is part of a larger, ongoing series, there is nothing that requires the reader picking up the other titles to follow the plot—though I do recommend the core Swords of Sorrow series for its scope and fun.
Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella & Jennifer Blood #1 gets this miniseries off to a rough start, but the basic premise is strong enough that I am going to go on: It should be very entertaining watching the two women try to work together.
Cover: Billy Tan
Writer: Nancy A. Collins
Art: Dave Acosta
Color: Valentina Pinto
Letters: Erica Schultz