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Legenderry #1
writer: Bill Willingham
artist: Sergio Davila

Do we need a steampunk version of Vampirella? Perhaps not, but by creating one, writer Bill Willingham may make it more palatable that she could flirt with a verbose Green Hornet, and that both of them could easily fit in the same world with Robert E. Howard's original conception of Red Sonja.

So Dynamite launches Legenderry, a seven issue mini-series that finds a way to cross over almost all the different genres they publish by squeezing them into one. Who knew steampunk could be such a miracle?

Drawn by the serviceable Sergio Davila -- so far one of the better artists in Dynamite's stable -- the story pulses with both an extraordinary vocabulary and decent pulp plot. It is, however, a lot more grand guignol than the cover might lead you to believe, with the delicate Vampirella quite literally eviscerating her opponents. Sure, that hearkens back to her Warren days, but Green Hornet fans may be taken aback.

So I'll place this in a vague 1930's, though the steampunk tropes always put me in mind for the 19th century. (There's a musician lurking about who looks kind of like Penny-Farthing Press' The Victorian, so that doesn't help my bias.) And something about the shift makes Britt Reid loquacious and erudite, eager to throw around two-dollar words like a vermillion-garbed Johnny Littlejohn. So why isn't Johnny here?

It's too soon to pin down what the mad scheme is, but it involves international conspiracy and quite possibly steampowered cloning. Somehow it will bring in versions of Flash Gordon (not a stretch) and The Phantom (not too much a stretch), before lassoing in Jack Kirby's Captain Victory (more of a stretch). But Willingham seems to have such gusto for it that, well, why not?

The downside to all these crossovers (more are threatened by the indicia) is that it really is hard to decide on which version of the character to invest your time in. I followed Masks, with a more traditional Green Hornet. I'm buying Kings Crossing, which features another Flash Gordon and Phantom (different than Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist), and while they're all fun, there's a part of me that just wishes it would all settle down into one reality.

I'll catch my breath later -- after I see what Legenderry #2 has to offer.

Derek McCaw

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