Batman Vs. Dracula in DC Comics Red Rain
Writer: Doug Moench
Penciller: Kelley Jones
Inker: Malcolm Jones III
Letterer: Todd Klein
The modern day image of a vampire has tarnished the throat slashing, darkness thriving, lords of the undead. Instead of the bone chilling blood feeders of the European classic origin, today’s vampires consist of the glimmering in sunlight and handsomely good looking chin line. Turning back the way back machine to 1991, Red Rain restores the terrifying and erotic imagery first introduced by Bram Stoker, set in Gotham with its gothic architecture, deadly nights and dark knights. Reading the introduction by Eric Van Lustbader, that wonderfully compares Dracula to Batman, and equally The Dark Knight to the Lord of the Undead, the college essay portion of the reading is summed up nicely about how one entity inspires and continue the legacy of the other (not just the bat symbolism, working at night or the near dismissal of their former names). This comic will get you to hold your breath as you see prey fall victim to the cold blooded predators of the night.
With Moench’s writing tells the story in a fashion that can only be described as the English literature classic (Dracula), the mood of this thriller is set early and reinforced often. Comparing the writing in this story wouldn’t be complete without the lettering to achieve a total literary classic mimicry (which is the highest form of flattery). Kelley Jones, now a well-known name in the Batman arena, has amazing lines and use of cross hatching to show the depth and tones of characters and environments. Again, like the writing style paired with elegant lettering befitting the subject, the pencils are filled with ink that has the streets running red with blood and reanimating the undead. There is no shortage of brilliant colors to show life nor the use of the shades and shadows to set your goose bumps shivering down your arms. This is the first book in a three part saga that continues the vampirism infection with more notable villains from his rogues gallery.
Throughout the opening stages of this story, there are many similarities drawn between the Caped Crusader and the Caped Cross Hater. With the death toll quickly rising, as if Dracula no longer cares for secrecy, and why should he when the street were full of murder and killing before he arrived, the outcome for Gotham has a silver (bullet) lining. With the city experiencing red rains as a result of chemically destroying the environment, Dracula is becoming more frustrated and has begun taking more drastic measures as he tells James Gordon in an evil monologue that the tainted blood of Gotham is “…slowly driving me mad”. Which brings the comparison of these two legendary figures full circle as it a well debated topic by many that Batman (or Gotham) breeds madness. As many times as Batman has saved his city (and world) from death’s grasp, this time the embodiment of death itself, he must do so again, but with the aid of the Lord of Vampire’s children of the night who have come to realize the atrocities they have caused, breaking the spell. This graphic novel was every part the suspenseful tale that many vampire legends inspire, told in the Batman universe that you come to have faith the world’s greatest detective will live up to that title.