Zenescope Entertainment 2015
Written by Pat Shand
Illustrated by Michele Bandini
Coloured by Walter Pereyra
Last year, Liesel Van Helsing was attacked by an evil from her father’s past… but she survived, and has moved on with her life. Besides becoming the name that vampires fear, she’s also found love… in the strangest place. However, when old friends come calling on her for help, Van Helsing find herself pulled into a final conflict with the deadliest vampire of all time!
This is a great issue there’s a nice amount of fun mixed in with some more seriousness and potentially dangerous moments. I’ll be honest most of what I know of Liesel comes from her guest appearances in Robyn Hood so learning more about her past here and that she worked with Jonathan which is how he met Mina and the opening sequences around Jonathan’s parents table well it is a great way to start things off, hit the reader with a whole what the heck moment and to get you involved in the story.
Then seeing Liesel in action the fun continues. There’s a part of me that loves her outfit and a part of me that wonders why she doesn’t have at least shorts I mean she’s got a fantastic coat over her bustier top making the look sleek and sexy without it being crass but the panties well that makes me wonder. Back to the action, the way Pat manages to infuse her personality into what’s happening around her. This old lady vampire for example claims to be nemesis and yet she has no idea who she is and this the fourth time she’s taken out her nest well it’s this kind of characterization that endears Van Helsing to the reader.
It is nice to see her with Hades after all that’s happened in the Zenescope universe that they really do care about one another. That they make an unusual pairing is putting it mildly but still this kind of thing just adds to the interest level for me. Though right off the bat we see that Hades has a secret that he doesn’t want to share with Liesel. Could this doom their new relationship already before it’s had time to really get going?
Jonathan has called Liesel for help for Mina and as she and Hades go to them we get a quick recap of their working relationship. This includes Dracula having turned her father into a vampire whom she had to kill. Ah poor Mina she’s tied to a bed covered in spiders and flies and spouting that she has somewhere to be. What I find interesting here is that it’s Hades who has the most plausible idea of just letting her go and following her this way they can aptly rescue her from whomever it is that has taken control of her.
This issue was just the set up for the real story here and it’s been excellently. We get a clear sense that Dracula is up to no good and is using Mina to get to Liesel and in my opinion in the hopes of messing with her head to keep her off guard by once again making the upcoming meeting personal again.
This is the kind of anticipation in a story that makes it great to watch unfold. That Pat’s managed to get me involved and think of reasons for things that are happening shows us his skills as a writer. Plus I mean let’s face it we’re talking about Van Helsing and Dracula again and who doesn’t get caught up in this kind of vampire story?
There are moments the interior artwork is brilliantly done, mainly when we see Dracula or the possessed Mina heck even Hades has that meeting where the artwork really stands out and showcases some great darkness to it. The rest is good a little too generic at moments but never out of proportion but missing that certain edge needed for this kind of story. Granted the softness of Liesel out of her kit is a nice contrast but I just wish it were more. Also Jonathan’s family that opens it up while it just seemed to plain to me.
Overall this really is a great issue it has depth, emotion and foreboding darkness and creates a scenario that will test Liesel to her fullest. This kind of strength in the story is what i’ve come to expect out of Zenescope lately.