...because in this volume Warren takes a giant leap forward! With volume 2, Dynamite has corrected everything I had to complain about with volume #1. Each cover is presented in crisp, clear color and the stories are clean and much more enjoyable to read. A huge improvement has been made! Yes, there are still many stories that fail to deliver, but it is not the fault of Dynamite this time. (Warren was always a bit spotty when it came to story quality, but when they succeeded they put it out of the ball park). I believe that Archie Goodwin was, without question, the cornerstone of Warren's success...Period! And this volume proves it. With his return as associate editor and lead author of the Vampirella saga everything turns around. From the very first panel of the very first story of issue #8,"Who Serves the Cause of Chaos?" it is clear that something has changed at Warren. Perhaps I'm partial to these comics because I remember buying these volumes at the corner bookstore when they were first published, but I think not. There was originality and great creative energy at play during this period of publishing history and we are all the better for it.
In this volume, the classic adds have been almost entirely removed and although I miss them, it's fine with me. All the other features such as the Scarlet Letters and Vampi's Flames do enough to keep the flavor of the original magazines. (I for one have always really enjoy reading the letters pages.)
Great covers are reproduced exactly as the originals were and Frank Frazetta does a fantastic cover for #11 while the wonderful Sanjulian makes his very first appearance on #12. Inside the issues, great artists such as Wally Wood, Tom Sutton and Jerry Grandenetti do some fantastic art and it is pure joy to have them in an archive volume such as this. (Grandenetti's wonderful "Jack the Ripper Strikes Again" in issue #9 has a few misplace pages. It would have been nice if Dynamite repaired this glitch.)
One of my favorite stories "The Soft, Sweet Lips of Hell" is presented for the first time in issue #10. Neal Adams illustration alway shines and he makes this tale a classic one....which, I'm sure, is why Warren reprinted it so many times in issues to come.
With issue #12 and the lead story "Death's Dark Angel", Archie Goodwin comes in with guns blazing! Jose Gonzales takes over for Tom Sutton as illustrator of the Vampirella saga and he delivers a beautiful and classic splash title page! Now the real fun begins and Vampirella's image takes a giant leap forward. I am a huge fan of Tom Sutton's work, but no one has ever created a more classic image of Vampirella than Jose. Also in this issue Wally Wood presents one of his greatest tales "To Kill a God" and Jeff Jones illustrates a stunning if not unusual "Quest".
In issue #13, Jose M. Bea, makes a memorable debut of "The Silver Thief and the Pharaoh's Daughter" and last but not least, one of my personal favorites of the Spanish artists, Esteban Maroto is introduced with "Wolf Hunt" in issue #14. I have to admit that I'm not a fan of much that is being published these days, and you can take that for what it is, but I stand on my opinions about the best of the work presented here. This volume is a must have!