In her latest prose adventure from 2020, Vampirella is in Hong Kong to infiltrate some kind of “crazy-ass” cult. She doesn’t know anyone personally in South China, but her reputation precedes her. Even in a dingy nightclub late at night, she’s recognizable. “You’re Vampirella,” says an awestruck bartender. “Meeting you is one of the coolest things to ever happen to me. You’re a rock star!”
I agree: Vampirella is a rock star. With her red “slingshot suit,” her six-inch stiletto heels and her retro Bettie Page hairdo, she’s the most magnetic vampire in the world.
But even with all her explosive charisma, author Dan Wickline can’t figure out a way to make Vampirella the protagonist in her own novel. She isn’t the A story in The Blood Dragon. She’s not even the B story. For pity’s sake, she’s a lowly C-lister! How could this happen??
The dramatic core of the novel belongs to Jincan and her centuries-old pursuit of revenge. Zhang Wei, the son of the infamous Dragon Lady, represents the supporting story. Vampirella, on the other hand, is simply the helpful outsider.
Eons ago, Xuê Lông (the Blood Dragon) was condemned to exile by the Jade Emperor. In recent years, however, a cult by the name of the Servants of the Blood has been working overtime to bring the demon back to Earth-Prime. Serendipity brings Jincan, Zhang Wei and Vampirella together to stop the cult’s machinations.
Unfortunately, the Warriors Three are unable to stop the Blood Dragon from returning. When he arrives, he’s as tall as a two-story building with wings twice that wide. Says Wickline: “His head was as big as Vampirella and his mouth looked as if it could swallow her in one gulp.”
As I said earlier, Vampirella isn’t the protagonist of this story. Jincan ultimately gets her revenge and Zhang Wei gets his redemption, but there’s no story arc for Vampirella. She’s just passing through on the way to her next adventure (in Russia apparently).
Throughout the book, Wickline has some good-natured fun with Vampirella’s wardrobe. How could he resist? In the beginning he dresses her in acid-wash jeans and a Gangnam Style T-shirt. Later, after the dust settles, Vampirella is spotted in a vintage KISS jersey.
All of it is kind of cute, but my favorite LOL moment comes during the endgame’s epic battle. While pummeling each other in the streets of Hong Kong, Vampirella and the Blood Dragon exchange a few tart quips.
“You’re not as clever as you think you are,” spits the demon. “I don’t know,” replies Vampirella with a shrug. “I do pretty well for myself—although I probably should’ve thought twice before wearing my red sling outfit today. The guy behind me is ignoring you and keeps staring at my ass.”
[Vampirella: The Blood Dragon / By Dan Wickline / First Printing: April 2020 / ISBN: 9781524119607]