Always Underestimated – Vampirella: On Alien Wings

Ron Goulart returns to pen yet another adventure featuring Vampirella and like the first book in the series, it contains three interconnected stories, the common thread between them being the titular star of the novel. Much like the previous volume, Goulart wastes no time and no words in getting straight to it and with the book only being just over one hundred and thirty pages, it is easy for the reader to appreciate as such.

All three acts in this book have similar themes, though each one goes about it in a slightly different way and with a star such as Vampirella, how could it not come around to the subject of eternal life, the one thing that every man and woman dreams about at some point in their lives. Such as it is, Goulart does make each story as action-packed and as interesting as possible given the page count of the novel, never failing to grab the reader’s attention as fast a read as the book might be, packing it with villains both villainous and misunderstood as they search for that just out of their reach.

The first consists of an old man, a former movie star who is looking to become a vampire himself in order to renege on a deal with a demon named Nergal whom he had conjured thanks to the Books of Blood. Having had a successful career, he does not want his soul to go into the void where said demon resides and so if he were to cheat death, the deal he had made would never technically come to an end. Suffice it to say, Vampirella wants no part of his machinations and refuses to be a willing victim. The second finds Vampirella and Pendragon aboard a cruise line, hired to perform some magic shows. Like the adventure before it though, she discovers that the captain of the ship has made a deal with a demon through the Books of Blood, one that would end up saving his life when he was previously dying with the added bonus of wealth in addition to that. All it would cost is the sacrifice of a few souls and if he should ever decide not to pay, his own would be forfeit. So it is that Vampirella stops the man, but not without losing the entire ship and those that were aboard it. In the final act of the book, she and Pendragon in their life raft make it to what seems to be an uninhabited island. It turns out though that a mad doctor currently resides on the island with his sick wife, a woman he saved from death through his experiments and the Books of Blood, that devilish tome that holds both answers and damnation. For Vampirella and Pendragon to survive, she is going to have to stop not only the man but his wife as well.

Each tale was a lot of fun, filled with excitement and of course more than a bit of horror as tame as it might have seemed, the reader needing an active imagination to make it all come alive in the mind. While all of this was happening, the Van Helsings were also looking to find Vampirella, though for very different reasons, one believing her a monster, the other something better. Though the book did not end on the happiest of notes, Vampirella having had quite enough of humanity and the general public for the time being, it is a sure thing that she will come back, if only to stop the Books of Blood from ever being used again.

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