Welcome back to The Dynamite Report! This week, we’re taking a deep dive into Dynamite’s upcoming Vampirella: The Dark Powers series, which pairs the Daughter of Drakulon with members of The Project.
For the uninitiated, The Project is a revamped take on Dynamite’s stable of characters from Project Superpowers, a collective of forgotten Golden Age heroes who got a second wind in 2008. They’re old fashioned crimefighters, which all but guarantees a clash of ideals when Vampirella joins their team. Regardless, Vampi might actually be taking her new role as a superhero seriously–she’s even got a new outfit to help her look the part.
Dynamite has had a lot of success with their primary Vampirella series with writer Christopher Priest and artist Ergun Gunduz at the helm. But for this story, they turned to Dan Abnett, who has a lot of experience plotting similar crossovers for Marvel and DC. Abnett is re-teaming up with his Annihilation: Scourge collaborator Paul Davidson on the new series. As a bonus, readers will also get to choose from nine different covers for The Dark Powers’ first issue. Expect to see variants designed by an impressive array of artistic talent, including Jae Lee, Peach Momoko, and more.
We spoke with Abnett himself to get the low-down on the series ahead of its debut. Check out what he had to say about Vampirella’s new adventure below!
In The Dark Powers, Vampirella joins up with members of Project Superpowers. What kind of a team player will Vampirella be?
Dan Abnett: Not a great one at all. She doesn’t play well with others, and she’s also in unfamiliar territory. The Project is a A-grade, cosmos-spanning superhero organization and she’s…. not. She’s not a good fit, and that – and the genre-clashing nature of the series – is part of the fun.
Will The Dark Powers tie into the primary Vampirella series? Can new readers just dive in with issue #1?
Yes, they can just dive in. I love the primary Vampirella series, and this is sort of a ‘companion’ that takes the character in a different direction but doesn’t contradict anything. You could treat it as a “Meanwhile…. This is happening…”
How does the Project differ from the previous incarnations of Project Superpowers?
It’s recognizably the same, but it’s been streamlined and given a polished, high-tech edge. We’re actually really pleased with the way we’ve given it a make-over. A lot of world-building (literally!) went into it. These are old, classic characters that, in many cases, inspired the famous superheroes of today, which means – oddly – that they now often look like copies of famous industry characters. This is an attempt to freshen their identity and give them their own feel.
You’re no stranger to crossovers. What was your experience working on an event like this where the characters might not be as well-known as Vampirella?
I’ve enjoyed it very much. The Project characters are great, so in some respects this gives me a chance to showcase them and introduce them to a new generation of readers. These are classic and formative characters, the bedrock of modern superhero fiction, so this is… I’m not going to say a reboot… it’s a way to ‘detail’ them and give them a modern finish and appeal. Using a very well known character like Vampirella gives us a way in – we see them through her eyes, and learn about them through their interaction with her. They begin as the context for the story, as her supporting cast, but I think the series is a method to showcase them and reintroduce them to the readership.
You’ve also described the story as a “genre clash.” Can you please elaborate?
Vampirella is horror, the supernatural, gothic, erotic. She wears a costume, but at most you could call her a vigilante. She exists in the shadows, and her stories reflect that spooky and macabre flavor. The Project is bright, shiny, unapologetic, world-saving superheroics. So two traditions of comics clash (and don’t tell anyone, but there’s more genre-clash to come!). She’s an outsider, and she’s got to fit in with a group that are deeply suspicious of her. The genre ‘baggage’ they each bring with them adds to that delicious sense of a ‘bad fit’. The story is very character driven, and my aim is to take it seriously (though there is humor) – it’s not a joke story. It’s an exploration of what might happen if this actually took place.
What’s it been like to collaborate with artist Paul Davidson?
I’ve worked with Paul before, I’m working with him on other things, and I’ll work with him again. He’s fantastic, and his visuals are incredibly imaginative, striking and graphic.
The new series also features Vampirella wearing a brand new suit that’s less revealing than her usual getup. Who designed the new costume and why was it so important to give her a new look for this story?
She actually wears a number of suits, but the one you’re referring to is very cool… and symbolizes the ‘clash’. The Project members are very noble and principled, and are proud of the Project’s long and dignified reputation. Vampy’s classic costume is – to them – rather shocking and provocative, so they insist she wears something more ‘respectable’ as a representative of the team. You can guess how well THAT’S going to go down.
What can you tell us about the threat that Vampirella and the Project have to face together?
Suitably huge and malevolent, but maybe…. just maybe… something that requires the specialist (and derided) skills of Vampirella and our other outsider. It’s a truly epic story.
Can you tease your favorite moments in the first issue?
There’s an extraordinarily visceral and kinetic fight in the first issue, an extended sequence that spotlights Vampirella… and doesn’t work out the way you might expect.
Vampirella: The Dark Powers #1 hits comic shops in December. You can check out all nine variant covers, plus five pages of interior artwork, in the gallery below. Will be adding the new series to your pull list later this year? Let us know in the comment section!