So this week Tom DeFalco has returned to one of his old creations with Thunderstrike, and for me this is a return to some of the older more innocent style comics. Well, as much as one can perceive from a first issue. It’s nice to see Kevin Masterson again even if he has turned into the ultimate brat, and also nice to see an Asgardian title that isn’t all ‘Woe is me, Asgard has fallen’.
I’m not saying this is the pinnacle of comic story-telling, far from it, but it is enjoyable, and a welcome return for a character missed by many.
Speaking of returns however, Dynamite have continued their tradition of relaunching characters with Vampirella. If doesn’t seem so long since Vampirella: The Second Coming slightly redefined what the nature of our favourite vampiress is, and now we have a newer version.
This issue does not redefine anything, Vampirella could be from Drakulon, a goddess manifesting through her followers blood or the daughter of Lilith, who knows. That has very little relevance to this story, which is atmospheric and implies some of the previous continuity. We are told that Vampi had a mortal lover, who died. This could be Adam, or some other story yet to be told. Yet what is important here is not even the story itself, which when analysed is little more than any other vampire story, but the mood that is established. Far grittier than the old Harris run of the Nineties, far more city based with less fantastical elements, this issue has everything that the recent Vampire PA seemed to lack. And the back-up strip re-printed from years ago, of Archie Goodwin’s relationship with Vampi is not to be missed.
One other title I want to draw your attention to, though it’s hardly a first issue, is Dynamite’s Warlord Of Mars. Maybe it’s the art, maybe it’s the fact it does not rush into the story, mixing elements of the Wild West with Barsoomian (Martian) culture, as the stories of John Carter and Tars Tarkas are told separately before their first meeting. Reading the recent second issue (so it’s not too late to jump on) reminded me of why, all those years ago reading the classics of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tars Tarkas to me defined what an honourable hero truly is. This title brings back all of those memories, in fresh, vivid colour.