"Batman & Dracula: Red Rain" offers a unique take on the Caped Crusader. More Dark Knight than Adam West camp, this tale plops Bruce Wayne into an apocalyptic Gotham (even more so than usual), as the very sky weeps tears of blood.
Wayne's dreams are tortured by haunting images of beautiful-yet-doomed women, but even more disturbing are the mysterious scars on his back when he awakens. Soon, as the title subtly hints, Batman is matching fists (and to a lesser extent, wits) with good old Dracula himself.
This is a very violent take on the Batman saga, with more emphasis spent on blood and carnage than Batman's detective skills. Several panes offer horrifying visions of Batman's world, and it's safe to say that this is a story for older Batman fanatics.
While the look of this pulp is fantastic, the story lacks a bit of heft. After all, we're talking about the leading comic hero taking on one of the leading villains in Western Civilization . . . and...
In the book's introduction, Eric Van Lustbader descreibes his initial concerns over the cheesiness of the "Batman vs. Dracula" concept (really, <anything> vs. Dracula smacks of (...) to us nowadays). Put all that aside. There is no cheese here. I am well acquinted with vampire lore, and this is just as good as any other modern interpretation. Consider how well vampire lore fits into the idea of Batman and the construction of his character. It really adds something. Plus, it *is* an Elseworld's tale. And like all Elseworlds tales, you should let yourself go, knowing that none of this actually happened, and enjoy the alternative history. Let it get a little crazy. The artwork is really top notch, and the story is great. My only complaint would be that the story moves too fast, and some parts (Batman's love interest...the characters dealing with *vampires* in the city) are not examined in enough detail. The work suffers from that. There *is* the sequel, though, which...
This book is the start of a three-part descent into hell and oblivion, with much angst and pathos (and blood) along the way. While the last installment, "Crimson Mist" (think "Alien 3" as far as depressing goes), wraps this up pretty well, "Red Rain" and "Bloodstorm" are my personal favorites. "Red Rain" sets up the storyline, bringing the Dark Knight from his usual stomping grounds (and reality) into a world where, (to quote "Bloodstorm"), deduction has become meaningless, for the rules are now random. This book focuses on the sacrifices of Bruce Wayne for his beloved Gotham City. [The second book focuses on the Batman's sacrifices for Gotham, and the third book focuses on the sacrifices of those who love Batman for the sake of Gotham]. Some complain this book is boring; I disagree. Since we are at the beginning of the trilogy, Batman is all cool calm and control, even with those bat-wings and eventually fangs. It is the beginning of Batman becoming his own namesake, a...
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