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Review – Van Helsing vs. Dracula’s Daughter #3 (Zenescope)

Van Helsing vs Dracula's Daughter #3 (Zenescope) variant cover art (detail) by Allan Otero
Overall
6.3/10
6.3/10
  • Writing - 5.5/10
    5.5/10
  • Art - 8/10
    8/10
  • Overall - 5.5/10
    5.5/10
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Van Helsing vs. Dracula's Daughter #3

Writer: Raven Gregory
Artist: Allan Otero
Colorist: Robby Bevard
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Maturity Rating: Teen
Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment
Release Date: October 23, 2019

Liesel Van Helsing continues her fight against the vampires.

They Are Climbing the Walls in Van Helsing vs. Dracula’s Daughter #3

Creating a story in the medium of comics based on source material from classical literature must be difficult. The characters have to seem relevant in a superhero universe. However, they also have to capture the mood, atmosphere and motivations of the original work. In the first two issues, the series didn’t really suffer from these challenges, but neither did it really rise above them to create something unique. As with the second issue, it almost feels like the publisher thought it was time for another “Van Helsing vs.” series and pushed ahead without a firm idea. Only in Van Helsing vs. Dracula’s Daughter #3 it becomes clear that this approach is probably not going to work for the series as a whole. (A few minor spoilers follow.)

Writing

Van Helsing vs. Dracula's Daughter #3 (Zenescope) Cover art by Anthony Spay
Van Helsing vs. Dracula’s Daughter #3 (Zenescope) Cover art by Anthony Spay

The writer here, Raven Gregory, has put out some great stories for Zenescope. Unfortunately, though, he also has a few misses, and Van Helsing vs. Dracula’s Daughter #3 feels more like the latter. One of the weaker approaches to storytelling is to add in the character development after the fact. Though Liesel is fairly fleshed out by this point, her assistant is not as well developed. Having her manifest heretofore-unmentioned abilities is lazy writing. 

The issue doesn’t get better with the assault on the vampires. These fearsome creatures should be hard to vanquish, but they are treated like nothing more than annoyances here. The cut-scene to end the battle almost seems tongue-in-cheek for how easy it is for the heroes, but the effect is the opposite. It makes the threat against the heroes less severe, and thus weakens the overall story. 

The presentation and handling of the human trafficking aspect are kind of weird too. This real-world problem feels thrown-in here for the benefit of the story. This also, unfortunately, takes away from the overall product. 

Art

There is at least nothing wrong with the art here. The art team of Allan Otero (pencils) and Robby Bevard (colors) continues here from previously in the series. The artwork is not phenomenal, but it is effective. Perhaps best is the action sequence as the heroes attack the vampires, though, as mentioned previously, this is sort of disjointed thanks to the storytelling. 

Conclusion

The second issue of this 5-part miniseries was OK, but it really seemed to fall off the rails here in Van Helsing vs. Dracula’s Daughter #3. The story does not hold together at all, as it feels like it is made of unassociated vignettes as opposed to one strong narrative. Without it, the action doesn’t hold any weight, and the character development seems to be shoehorned in only to make the plot work. In essence, this should be a good series. The characters are there and the setting from classic literature is there. The only thing missing is the direction, and without it, the series doesn’t work at all well here. 


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