DC has been warned about their vampire problem since the New 52. As soon as Andrew Bennett was out of his toxic relationship, it was a matter of time before DC’s overpowered vampires finally took over the world. Unsurprisingly, it only took six issues of the DC vs. Vampires series to do so. Now, issue seven introduces the apocalypse as the new normal.
I should also mention that this new normal comes at the violent end of the Batman era. Most of the Bat-family members are either decimated or leading the forces of darkness first hand. As a result, characters such as Green Arrow or Constantine are now expected to step up and lead. The same sort of hopelessness found in DCeased is recreated in this new world’s crisis. It could have gone without the same amount of spin-offs and tie-ins, but you know the saying: “Give DC an inch they’ll take you down the highway to hell.”
The shining star of DC vs. Vampires is Otto Schmidt. The dynamic art style and color gives the book and series as a whole a distinct identity. It is hard not to stop admiring the cinematic color palette. A dark world on fire could be boring in someone else’s hands, but Otto finds and utilizes every red, brown, orange, burgundy, and yellow possible to create explosive and interesting compositions with every turn of the page. I can attribute part of his technique’s effectiveness to a reduction in outlines and thin colorful borders. He controls the mood and temperature of the artwork with really distinct contrasts of heat and cold or cleanliness and filthiness. It’s bleak in narrative, but a lot of fun to look at.
Matthew Rosenberg attempts narrative heavy lifting with Tynion IV spotting. Firstly, the cast of the series has now shifted to a group of survivors led by Mr. Bones. The read operates like an issue of Suicide Squad with no net of safety. Essentially, it uses the popular Land of The Dead trope of regrouping in a stronghold, but the choice of stronghold is creative. Another interesting choice is potentially molding Jayna of the Wonder Twins into the “Snake Plissken” of the story. Although Rosenberg has given her seven issues of heartache, I’m not sure shaving her head and giving her a big duster will help her fill the big gap in power needed to take her revenge.
The vampire horde themselves have always been extremely inconsistent in DC history. So far, their powers and vulnerabilities vary from book to book. This is important to remember when trying to grasp how the battles and matchups work in this issue. In shorthand, the vampires are hard to kill in normal context, but with the DNA of Wonder Woman and Superman it’s impossible to even imagine killing them. Without many weaknesses to exploit, the powers of a lot of the heroes like “the heat vampire” Killer Frost are commonly invalidated in favor of the vampire’s domination. The fights have a lot of creative characters and artwork, but typically end up one-sided.
- You are excited by vampires easily killing or corrupting your favorite DC Characters
- You’re a fan of series like Dawn of the Dead or The Strain
- Your tolerance for DCeased was high
I binge read every issue of DC Vs. Vampires, and issue #7 radically changes the landscape of the series. The first six out of twelve issues may have set up these “dark days of future past,” but the second half brings it to life. It is a beautifully designed book, despite the edginess of its apocalyptic makeovers. Coming from someone who thought I, Vampire was one of the most underrated books in the New 52, I think the vampires feel conveniently overpowered but underwritten. There are plenty of questionable choices that I’m still waiting to develop further before criticizing, but for now it is an easy recommendation.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.