REVIEW: ‘Vampirella Valentine’s Day Special’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Vampirella Valentines Day Special

Vampirella Valentine’s Day Special is published by Dynamite Comics, written by Leah Williams, with art by Maria Sanapo, with colors by Ceci de la Cruz, and letters by Taylor Esposito.

In Vampirella Valentine’s Day Special, Vampirella gets a call about some supernatural happenings in the Big Easy. After taking on a lamia, snake woman who eats children, she gets a visit from a strange but handsome man who seems to have more spooky cases for her to tackle as the tail end of Mardi Gras in New Orleans seems to bring out everything from werewolves to the paranormal.

There is a really beautiful moment at the beginning of this comic that reimagines why New Orleans cannot bury its dead and must instead entomb them above-ground. Vampirella’s monologue tells the story of the violence and bloodshed of the city’s history has soaked so deep into the ground it will spit the dead back out in a refusal to accept more tragedy. Those few pages are poetic and beautiful but that is about the only reimagining of Louisiana I personally could stomach within this comic.

I would have liked this comic a lot more if I was not from Louisiana.

For context, both sides of my family are French-Cajun and I was born near New Orleans. As a child, I went to Mardi Gras every year, up until we moved away when I was seven. I spent every summer, Christmas, and Easter with my family in Louisiana. I never felt like I was from anywhere other than Louisiana, so much so that I returned there for college.

Mardi Gras is a special time of year for people from Louisiana. A lot of the state gets off school, we eat strange cakes, and every year late night hosts make fun of our seasonal basketball mascot, King Cake Baby. The holiday itself, while technically being one day, is celebrated over the course of two weeks with different parades from different krewes running each week around city and nearby areas.

This comic takes place on Lundi Gras, the day prior to Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. In the story, Lundi Gras happens to fall on Valentine’s Day despite this year it actually falling in March which makes the editorial decision to have this comic take at Mardi Gras very confusing. Traditionally, Lundi Gras is a family day so there are very few parades running but in this world, tourists are partying it up on Bourbon Street as a parade runs by in the heat of the southern night – parades also do not go down Bourbon Street but I digress.

Not only is the geography and apparently google calendar of this fictional Mardi Gras eons off from the yearly New Orleans tradition but the locals are caricatures of actual residents. Apparently, they all say Nawlins, yes spelled just like that, and pepper in French words unnecessarily here and there. Hearing a local of New Orleans say “Nawlins” might be the most egregious thing I have ever read in a comic. However, if you can shut your brain off, it’s not a half-bad comic.

Additionally, the pacing isn’t great and the love interest for Vampirella is a knock-off Gambit If you know absolutely nothing about New Orleans you will probably enjoy it, especially if you like Vampirella. The art is solid and the coloring is very vibrant, though none of it feels like Mardi Gras, since, without the dialogue, it would be hard to identify the time of year.

Vampirella Valentine’s Day Special is available now in comic book stores and online.

Vampirella Valentine's Day Special
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Summary

Additionally, the pacing isn’t great and the love interest for Vampirella is a knock-off Gambit If you know absolutely nothing about New Orleans you will probably enjoy it, especially if you like Vampirella. The art is solid and the coloring is very vibrant, though none of it feels like Mardi Gras, since, without the dialogue, it would be hard to identify the time of year.