Take care of that overbite, okay?
--Catwoman to Vampirella.
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artists: Jim Balent and Ray McCarthy
Front Cover: Jim Balent and Jimmy Palmiotti
Catwoman-- Selina Kyle-- has prowled the DC Universe since 1940, villain and anti-hero, Batman's adversary and love interest, comicdom's premiere femme fatale
Vampirella has stalked supernatural evil with her demonic powers and defied elementary physics with her barely-existent costume since 1969, first in Warren Magazines and then in Harris Publications. Her origin has changed a few times, but she has always retained her essential nature: a vampire's powers, a hero's heart, and a stripper's wardrobe.
Inevitably, comicdom's good bad girls had to meet.
A series of cat-themed crimes in Gotham City have turned violent, with survivors speaking of a mysterious cat-like woman. Naturally, Selina Kyle becomes the #1 suspect. Meanwhile, Vampirella has arrived in town and, after saving her assistant Pendragon from the clutches of phony demonic cult ("Why don't you people join a therapy group?" she huffs, as she strolls away from the quivering cultists) decides to help. By the end, the two super-women have met, fought, made up, and found themselves allied against mysterious enemies. The Penguin appears, proving more competent and glamorous than in many of his past portrayals. Ultimately, the mystery unravals like a ball of yarn, as our heroines meet the befanged, feline "Pantha."
As crossover comics go, the writing neither distinguishes nor particularly embarrasses itself. The art, however, manages to do both.
Popular stereotype makes the average comic-book connoiseur male, adolescent (actual or arrested), and deprived of sexual contact. This comic does nothing to minimize that perception. Each of Selina Kyle's breasts has inflated to the size of her head, while she appears to have exchanged her past outfits for body paint. Granted, she has always had something of the male fantasy about her, but her artists and writers have usually handled her with greater restraint and intelligence. Vampirella has always been more up-front about being masturbation material. Her early adventures featured nudity and sex, and, to quote Jet-Poop, "Vampi should've fallen out of that costume every other step she took." That certainly hasn't changed. The handling, however, may cause some readers to cringe. The cover sets the tone: Vampi poses on all fours, butt up, and tries to look menacing, while Catwoman waves her whip overhead. Of course, they're both glowering at the unseen enemy, but the scene plays like bad faux lesbian S&M. Likewise, many panels within would be interpreted very differently without the dialogue. Are those gals fighting, or...? And from just what part of Catwoman's body will Vampirella take that much-needed nourishment?
Comics have found many markets; Catwoman/Vampirella: The Furies serves some of these. And if, like some of Catwoman's and nearly all of Vampirella's incarnations, it has not been aimed at younger readers, neither was it created with a wholly mature audience in mind.