Batman & Dracula: Red Rain
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|Batman & Dracula: Red Rain|
|Inker(s)||Malcolm Jones III
John Beatty (Bloodstorm and Crimson Mist)
|Colorist(s)||Les Dorscheid, Gregory Wright (Crimson Mist)|
Batman & Dracula: Red Rain is a 1991 graphic novel by Doug Moench and Kelley Jones, in DC Comics' Elseworlds line of alternate reality stories. It spawned two sequels by the same creative team; Batman: Bloodstorm and Batman: Crimson Mist.
Investigating a series of murders of Gotham's homeless, the victims' throats having been slashed, Batman discovers that the murders are being committed by a family of vampires led by Dracula himself, still "alive" and well. With the aid of a rogue vampire called Tanya—who was once a member of Dracula's brood until the sight of an innocent child drove her to flee from him, creating a "blood substitute" to spare her from the cycle of death and murder—Batman, himself bitten by a vampire (Tanya herself, who seeks his aid in defeating Dracula as all Vampires created by Dracula are powerless against his abilities and mental powers), is able to acquire the strength necessary to stand against Dracula's minions while still retaining his humanity. Determined to destroy Dracula's minions, Batman lures them into the Batcave, where Tanya and her followers keep them occupied until Batman detonates multiple explosive charges, destroying Wayne Manor and exposing the cave to sunlight, destroying all the vampires within it. Using his new bat-like wings, Batman flies to confront Dracula, eventually impaling the vampire lord on a tree that has been destroyed by lightning, but at the cost of the last of his humanity as Dracula drains the last of his blood. However, after his "will" has been read by Alfred, Batman assures his old friend that he has nothing to fear. Bruce Wayne may be gone, but the Batman, thanks to his vampiric powers, will now go on forever.
Sometime later, the remaining vampires of Dracula's horde are now led by the Joker, having convinced them to follow his orders after pointing out their current inability to think beyond their next victim with the death of Dracula. Although they manage to take control of most of Gotham's major crime families, the vampires are eventually destroyed by a team of Batman, Catwoman (as a real werecat, transformed by the bite of a vampire in the form of a wolf), Commissioner Gordon, Alfred, and their vampire hunters made up of many Gotham PD detectives. Gordon, Alfred and their team stake the former crime lords during the day, and Batman and Catwoman confront the last vampires in a warehouse. Catwoman is killed in the final battle after defeating the vampire that made her what she has become, taking a crossbow bolt for Batman. Enraged at the loss of the only person able to control his bloodlust, Batman subsequently drains the Joker of his blood. Horrified by what he has done, after staking the Joker to ensure he cannot come back as a vampire, Batman has himself staked by Gordon and Alfred, determined to stop himself from committing further murder.
Crimson Mist (1999)
Unfortunately, Gordon and Alfred never cut off his head, and, as a result, Batman is restored in Crimson Mist when Gotham is in the grip of a crime wave and Alfred removes the stake in an attempt to provide Gotham with a savior once again. Driven mad by the decay of his body and his new longing for blood, Batman drains and decapitates all of his old enemies (the Penguin, the Riddler, Poison Ivy, Black Mask, Amygdala, the Scarecrow, and various Arkham inmates), until Two-Face and Killer Croc, the only two left, form an alliance with Commissioner Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth to kill Batman, the two acknowledging that the man Batman once was would not wish to go on killing his opponents like he is. Having tracked Batman to his new lair in the former Batcave- Wayne Manor having collapsed in on the cave after the explosion settled-, Alfred will lure him into the main part of the cavern, and they will subsequently trigger bombs to expose Batman to the sun. During the struggle, Two-Face and Croc attempt to kill Alfred and Gordon after Batman is nearly fatally injured, but Alfred gives his life to give Batman the strength needed to save Gordon. Having killed Croc and Two-Face - impaling Croc on a stalagmite and sticking arrows into both sides of Two-Face's head - Batman convinces Gordon to trigger the trap, and the roof of the Batcave is destroyed. Gordon is crushed by falling rubble, and Batman walks into the sunlight, hoping that, in death, he shall finally find the peace that he has been unable to find since his demonic transformation.
IGN Comics ranked Batman & Dracula: Red Rain #9 on a list of the 25 greatest Batman graphic novels, calling it "perhaps the finest written [Elseworlds story] to date" and "flawless in its execution." The website added, "Just about every turn of the page brings a new wrinkle, a new surprise. So many comics seem to go by the numbers, but Red Rain offers the unexpected again and again." Batman & Dracula: Red Rain is the highest-ranking Elseworlds story on the list.
The vampire Batman of this universe has made two cameo appearances in the DC Universe. The first was in Superman/Batman #25 along with a number of other alternate Batmen. The second was in Justice Society of America #5 as a personified nightmare of an inmate in Arkham Asylum.
Elements of the story were used in the animated movie The Batman vs. Dracula, such as Dracula and his minions' vampiric designs resembling Kelley Jones's comic book artworks. A vampiric Batman appears in a dream sequence, which was a product of Bruce Wayne's developing fear of his own persona and Dracula's evil.
In a DC Nation column released on May 30, 2007, Dan Didio mentioned a 'Vampire Batman' as one of the alternate Earths within the new Multiverse, (a reference to the Batman and Dracula trilogy). In Absolute Crisis on Infinite Earths HC, this timeline was listed as Earth-1191 before the destruction of the Multiverse. In Countdown #40, one of the Monitors mentions that the Earth that he monitors is one home to vampires and the supernatural, and above shows a picture of a figure resembling Batman rising from the grave done in the same style as Batman & Dracula, although it has not been confirmed if this universe is exactly the same as the original story or if it is an entirely new version of it.
In the DC Infinite Halloween Special, the Mad Hatter tells a tale of the vampire Batman, called Red Rain: Blood Lust. In it, the vampire Batman kills a young boy's family as they are leaving a play, just as Batman's parents were killed when he was a boy. The story was written by Peter Johnson and illustrated by Kelley Jones.
In Batman: The Brave and the Bold season 1 finale "Game Over for Owlman!", a vampiric Batman appears in an army of Batmen recruited by the mainstream Batman to battle Owlman and his army of villains. In the episode "Legends of the Dark Mite!", Bat-Mite changes Batman into the vampiric Batman when trying to change Batman's costume. In "Shadow of the Bat!", Batman hallucinated that he was transformed into vampire after being bitten by Dala.
Following the series 52 (2006–2007), the DC Universe splits into a 52-world Multiverse with divergent histories; many of these are based on old Elseworlds stories. In Countdown: Arena (2007), vampire Batman is one of four alternate versions of Bruce Wayne that fight to be in Monarch's army against the Monitors. The vampire Batman wins his place in Monarch's army, turning one of the other Batmen in the process. In the Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer (2008) series of one-shots entitled Red Rain #1, written by Peter Johnson and illustrated by Kelley Jones, the Challengers of the Beyond venture into the new version of the Batman & Dracula universe, called Earth-43. This is a follow-up to the aforementioned Red Rain: Blood Lust story. The Challengers of Beyond arrive at Earth-43, and Donna Troy finds a dead Barbara Gordon, marked by Ray Palmer and with a stake through her heart. This version of Barbara was turned into a vampire by Batman and was killed by a now adult Dick Grayson. Grayson has become obsessed with killing Batman ever since he murdered his parents, and after finally locating his crypt, he finds he cannot bring himself to kill him, so Batman bites him and turns him into a vampire as well. The Challengers leave this Earth, with Dick now taking on a Robin-esque role as Batman's partner.
Earth-43 is later spotlighted in the video game Infinite Crisis (2013), in which vampire Batman is a playable character. An alternate version of Superman who reigns from the same universe also appears, with the Man of Steel being a kind of specter after a traumatizing experience in the Phantom Zone.
Following DC's Flashpoint (2011) event, in which the Multiverse undergoes a reboot, Earth-43 is altered again. The new Earth-43 remains conceptually similar but less tied to the plot events of Red Rain. In The Multiversity: Guidebook #1 (2015), it is described as a vampire world with a vampire Justice League called the Blood League. One other notable difference is that revised Earth-43 world features an Ultraman rather than a Superman. Villains such as Doctor Sivana are shown to have also succumbed to the vampire parasite. In the structure of the Multiverse depicted in the same Guidebook, Earth-43 is shown to be more closely connected to the dimensions of Hell than the other worlds in the Multiverse, connected to it by a tunnel of some sort. However, the pre-Flashpoint Earth-43's timeline will be revisit in the following Convergence tie-ins isues: Convergence: Swamp Things #1-2 and Convergence: Wonder Woman #1-2, featuring the appearances of the Vampire Batman and Joker.
In 2008, DC Direct released a Crimson Mist Batman action figure in the first wave of action figures based on the Elseworlds line of graphic novels.
The Batman and Dracula trilogy (Red Rain, Bloodstorm and Crimson Mist) was re-released on December 19, 2007 in a trade paperback collection titled Tales of the Multiverse: Batman - Vampire.
- Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1990s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 251. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9.
Written by Batman alumnus Doug Moench, and illustrated with the shadowy pencils of Kelley Jones, Red Rain chronicled the clash between Batman and the legendary Dracula.
- Batman and Dracula: Red Rain (1991)
- Batman: Bloodstorm (1994)
- Batman: Crimson Mist (1998)
- The 25 Greatest Batman Graphic Novels, Hilary Goldstein, IGN, June 13, 2005
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