This is it! Beginning when Andrew Bennett couldn’t keep his woman in check, DC Vs. Vampires‘ drives the bloodshed to a surprisingly domestic conclusion. As Batgirl’s forces make a play at The Dark King, everyone else scrambles to fight back the vampire horde.
Hunters, Killers, And All-Out War
Let’s start with John Constantine. This story is the culmination of Constantine’s machinations across several tie-ins. After Batman dies in DC Vs. Vampires #6, the responsibility of leading the survivors has fallen on Constantine’s shoulders. However, as repeatedly admitted, Constantine is incapable of keeping track of what’s going on. Ironically, I’ve always felt that way about writers Tynion IV and Rosenberg as well. Damian, Deathstroke, Canary and more have lead adventures that mostly amount to dead ends. For instance, the entire team in All-Out War died to make sure Captain Cold reaches his destination. Unfortunately, it is yet another piece of a pointless strategy that Constantine throws at the wall.
In the grand scheme of things, Damian’s (DC Vs. Vampires: Hunters), Starfire’s (DC Vs. Vampires: All-Out War), and Captain Cold’s stories have minor contributions to singular moments. Even after admitting his lies, Cold points out how dumb the plan is, but does it anyway. In contrast, Harley Quinn’s story (DC Vs. Vampires: Killers) has proven to be the most valuable spin-off. Harley Quinn directly relates to the weapon passed from Luthor to Batman from the very first issue. After Killers, Harley is freed by Batgirl in the main series in hopes of executing her complex strategy. Thusly, Luthor really did save everyone in a roundabout way.
Throughout the story, Nightwing visits Batgirl in increasingly sensual dreams like something out of Dracula 2000. Apparently, he’s been hoping she’d join him all along. Babs assumes his attraction for her is enough to risk everyone’s lives getting close to him. Although, once her plan becomes clear, her friends probably died horribly for nothing. In fact, the end of Batgirl’s journey is entirely selfish. Even her anachronistic back-up features her hunting down her father just because. Despite the silver lining of accomplishing her goal, the cycle will doubtlessly continue like Andrew Bennett and Mary in I, Vampire.
Loose Ends and Spin-Offs
A big part of reading and reviewing the entire DC Vs. Vampires series has been keeping track of the characters and narrative details. Tracking the lives of Jayna, Kara, Damian, Dinah, and Oliver has been frustrating to say the least. Rosenberg and Tynion have done a poor job justifying focusing on these characters if they weren’t leading anywhere. Worst of all, Vampires establishes Jayna’s storyline in the first issue of the story! Jayna’s traumatic vendetta only led to her helping to revive Kara. Constantine even mentions her possibly playing a part in the “polar vortex” plan, but she ends the book literally watching from the sidelines.
I understand heroes and villains in the series dying to bring Kara back. Even Deathstroke and Mr. Bones believed in the power behind Superman and Batman. What I fail to understand is how her little resurrection actually plays in the finale. Kara’s return is treated like, “So what, it’s just symbolic.” Moreover, Oliver’s extremely fun but pointless rescue of a single camp doesn’t have much of an impact on the enslaved world. The team dedicates several issues to Oliver’s grudge against the vampiric Hawkman. It is well within Oliver’s character to go to war for the little guy, but it felt just as pointless as tears in the rain.
I guess the biggest question for me is, “Must this continue?” With Hawksmoor, Ivy, and the other broken survivors like Damian or Black Lightning still out there, the story is clearly not over. Vampires peaked at the first six issues and has coasted by on fabulous artwork by Otto Schmidt or Pasquale Qualano. Which to be honest, I’ve never had any issues with the visual aspect. Yet, at some point “comic book logic” took the wheel and went off road as far as it could go. Instead of a well written finale to a messy adventure, it opens the unwelcome invitation to more of the same.
- You love Otto Schmidt’s fantastic artwork.
- Vampire fiction is your favorite genre.
- You have to finish DC Vs. Vampires for any reason.
I expect every storyteller to tell the story they want to tell without expecting another chance. DC Vs. Vampires is an unfinished meandering story with meandering tie-ins. Once Batman died, I don’t think they knew where to take things. Hell, half of the characters wouldn’t stop reminding me. I genuinely enjoyed most of the action and layout of most of the main series and spin-offs. I was able to invest in the trajectory of most characters they introduce. However, none of it leads to any satisfying conclusions or has anything better to say than “Isn’t it cool that x-character is a vampire.” Yes Tynion IV, it was cool. In fact, I love this book so much, I hope it never continues.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.