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Review – Van Helsing vs. Dracula’s Daughter #2 (Zenescope)

Van Helsing vs. Dracula's Daughter #2 (Zenescope Entertainment) cover B (detail) by Sheldon Goh
Van Helsing vs. Dracula's Daughter #2
Overall
6.7/10
6.7/10
  • Writing - 6/10
    6/10
  • Art - 8/10
    8/10
  • Overall - 6/10
    6/10
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Summary

Writer: Raven Gregory
Artist: Allan Otero
Colorist: Robby Bevard
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Maturity Rating: Teen
Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment
Release Date: September 18, 2019

Liesel Van Helsing deals with the cleanup of her first battle with the demons as Dracula’s Daughter draws nearer.

Liesel Continues Her Search In Van Helsing vs. Dracula’s Daughter #2 

 

Liesel Van Helsing continues her war against the denizens of the underworld in Van Helsing vs. Dracula’s Daughter #2. The first issue introduced a new villain operating behind the scenes trying to get Liesel’s attention: Dracula’s Daughter. This spawn of Dracula gets her attention as her closest allies are under assault. As Liesel cleans up after her previous attack on the demon’s lair, she obtains some new information. Her friends are kidanpped and need her help.

Writing

Van Helsing vs. Dracula's Daughter #2 (Zenescope Entertainment) cover A by Michael Sta. Maria
Van Helsing vs. Dracula’s Daughter #2 (Zenescope Entertainment) cover A by Michael Sta. Maria

The creative team is Raven Gregory with the story, with art by Allan Otero (art) and Robby Bevard (colors). Raven Gregory has been known for some of Zenescope’s greater stories but also some of its bigger misses. His output here is somewhat in the middle of those two extremes. This series started off somewhat forgettably in the first issue and has not done much to improve on that. Liesel has potential as a character, but it is somewhat lost here.

All too often these stories from Zenescope seem to be a mash-up of different genres without knowing where to go, which is the case here. The addition of some poorly-chosen dialogue also doesn’t help. This therefore, at times, feels like an old B-list horror movie and sometimes feels like a superhero comic and sometimes like a grindhouse movie. The end result doesn’t really coalesce well. There is also the problem of not having a strong lead-in from the first issue. There is not much momentum carrying this story so far, and this issue shows that it is not progressing ahead well. 

Art

If there is something that can be said for Zenescope, it is that while the story might sometimes suffer, the art makes up for it in the final product. While this art is sometimes a bit over-the-top (not to mention exploitative or gratuitous) it is evident that a lot of focus goes there. The same holds true with this issue, as there are some good full-page panels of the main villain which work well to entice the reader in. The problem here is that doing so doesn’t necessarily add a lot to the story. Liesel Van Helsing gives the artist a decent character to work with here, as her “steampunk Zatanna” appearance is appealing to the eye.  There is not enough with the character or the story yet in this series to make that worthwhile. 

Conclusion

Zenescope as always is a bit of a mixed bag. The publisher deserves praise for its almost all-female lineup of heroes, thus balancing out the discrepancy of hero genders in the medium. Equally, though can be genuine criticism for not always using these heroes in the most productive way. This series doesn’t really have any concern with either of those problems. Conversely, though, neither does it really have a strong enough story yet. The interest of the creative team seems to be there to put out something decent, but the story just doesn’t carry enough weight. It is thus hard to distinguish this issue from hundreds of other similar stories across a wide range of media.

This is not the first “Van Helsing Vs.” series and that Zenescope is still publishing indicates that they are among the more lucrative. Equally though, it might be better worth waiting for the right inspiration instead of producing this miniseries on schedule. Doing so might make these stories more appealing and less forgettable. 


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Edward Wendt

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