Thursday, April 26, 2012

Batman and Dracula

Batman and Dracula:  Red Rain by Doug Moench, Kelley Jones, Malcolm Jones III, Les Dorscheid

What an obvious idea—why have Batman and Dracula never met before?  Perhaps because of copyright restrictions, but the combination is inspired, for they are really two sides of the same coin, aren’t they?  The writing tone and the artistic tone of this tale from 199s owes much to the recently-ended ‘80s rather than Batman:  The Animated Series; Frank Miller and Alan Moore are the inspiration for the urban depravity.  The art is more derivative than either The Dark Knight Returns or Watchmen, but it is also quite arresting and eerily Gothic.  I like that it can make Batman look nightmarish but Bruce Wayne look, well, very much the attractive ‘80s yuppie.  Also, the Dracula here reminds me a lot of the one that Gerard Butler will portray in Dracula 2000.  

There’s an amusing character named Ariane who is a primer in vampire lore.  As such, it’s easy to see more Buffy in Tanya the vampire who’s also a vampire-hunter than Anne Rice.  The red mist addition is a clever one (a low-tech version of the microwave emitter in Batman Begins).  In fact, there’s even a glimmer of Twilight’s inspiration in Tanya (with perhaps an unconscious nod to porphyria).  The ending will not be a surprise to anyone who has seen “Tooth and Claw” but it’s nice at least to think that Batman could defeat the supernatural as well as Gotham’s worst thugs.

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