Review: Vanity #1
I know absolutely nothing about Elizabeth Bathory. Going into Vanity #1, I didn’t know it was based on a true story at all. After reading a solid introduction and the comic, I immediately dove into searches to find out more and holy crap. Blood Countess Elizabeth Bathory was accused of killing hundreds of women and children. Was it a witch hunt? Was she the inspiration for Dracula? Vanity #1 looks to explore the story of Bathory and the legend that she created.
Written by Jurii Kirnev, Vanity #1 begins at the very end. Gravediggers are assigned to relocate her corpse and through them we learn the history of this controversial person. Kirnev takes us through the opening years of her life to about age 12 or so. We get a solid idea of the politics of the land, the struggles of her family, her rather odd for the time outlook at things, and her upbringing. Bathory is painted as an educated woman who also has a bit of a rejection with religion. Her family is desperate for soldiers and must promise Elizabeth for marriage to another family to build up their strength. To her father, Elizabeth is a precious item to be traded away to strengthen the family. To her mother, she’s barely an individual, instead it comes off as a a mother seeing her daughter as a doll to be created prim and proper. There’s right ways and wrong ways to do everything. Elizabeth though seems to reject and question many of those ways.
Thus Kirnev sets up what’s to come laying the groundwork for the horrors of Bathory’s life.
The art is handled by Natalia Tsarevnikova with lettering by Joel Rodriguez. The art is interesting capturing the time but also showing the world from Elizabeth’s perspective. Much of the comic is in first person perspective as we see what Elizabeth sees. In some ways it dehumanizes her as we don’t get to really see her as a person and instead are focused on the world through her eyes. There’s a weird disconnect this way that emphasizes the disconnect by her parents.
Once it clicks that this is all true, Vanity #1 is an interesting debut. Without knowing where it’s going, it feels a bit slow and plodding. Knowing what happens, I want to know what’s next immediately. This is a comic to dive into for historical buffs, fans of vampire stories, or those that just want a really good read and something different than a lot of what’s on shelves.
Story: Jurii Kirnev Art: Natalia Tsarevnikova Letterer: Joel Rodriguez
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy
Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review