Batman & Dracula trilogy

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Batman & Dracula
Cover of Batman & Dracula: Red Rain HC. Art by Kelley Jones & Malcolm Jones III.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Publication date 1991
Main character(s) Batman
Dracula
Commissioner James Gordon
Alfred Pennyworth
Joker
Selina Kyle
Two-Face
Killer Croc
Creative team
Written by Doug Moench
Penciller(s) Kelley Jones
Inker(s) Malcolm Jones III
John Beatty (Bloodstorm and Crimson Mist)
Letterer(s) Todd Klein
Colorist(s) Les Dorscheid, Gregory Wright (Crimson Mist)

The Batman and Dracula trilogy is a group of American comics stories which began with Batman & Dracula: Red Rain, a 1991 graphic novel by Doug Moench and Kelley Jones,[1] in DC Comics' Elseworlds line of alternate reality stories. It spawned two sequels by the same creative team; Batman: Bloodstorm and Batman: Crimson Mist. DC Comics later released The Batman and Dracula trilogy in a trade paperback collection, entitled Tales of the Multiverse: Batman - Vampire.

Plot[edit]

Red Rain (1991)[edit]

Batman investigates a series of murders of homeless people of Gotham whose throats have been slashed. He discovers that a family of vampires led by Dracula himself (surprisingly "alive" and well after centuries of supposedly being dead) are the culprits behind the murders. A rogue vampire named Tanya, a former member of Dracula's brood, helps Batman take down the villain. Over the course of the tale, Batman, after a vampire bite, acquires the necessary strength to stand up to Dracula's minions while still retaining his humanity. Tanya informs Batman that vampires created by Dracula are powerless against his abilities and mental powers.

Determined to destroy Dracula's minions, Batman lures them into the Batcave. Tanya and her followers distract them while Batman detonates multiple explosive charges, destroying Wayne Manor and killing the vampires. Batman then confronts Dracula and impales him on a tree. This act costs Batman his humanity as Dracula drains the last of his blood. However, after Alfred reads his "will", Batman assures his old friend that he has nothing to fear. Bruce Wayne may be gone, but Batman, thanks to his vampiric powers, will go on forever.[2]

Bloodstorm (1994)[edit]

In the second installment, the Joker leads the remaining vampires of Dracula's horde. He convinces the vampires to follow his orders after pointing out their inability to think beyond their next victim since Dracula's death. Although they manage to take control of most of Gotham's major crime families, a team consisting 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 Gotham PD detectives eventually destroy the vampires. Gordon, Alfred and their team stake the former crime lords during the day while Batman and Catwoman confront the last vampires in a warehouse. Catwoman is killed in the final battle, taking a crossbow bolt for Batman, after defeating the vampire who made her what she had become. 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, Batman stakes the Joker to ensure he cannot come back as a vampire. He then successfully convinces Gordon and Alfred to stake him so that he cannot commit further murders.[3]

Crimson Mist (1999)[edit]

Batman is restored in Crimson Mist when Gotham is in the grip of a crime wave. 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 longing for blood, Batman begins draining and decapitating all of his old enemies. He is successful with the Penguin, the Riddler, the Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Black Mask, and all of the Arkham inmates, including Victor Zsasz and Amygdala. But Two-Face and Killer Croc form an alliance with Commissioner Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth to kill Batman, as both acknowledge that the man Batman once was would not wish to go on killing his opponents in this manner. Having tracked Batman to his new lair in the former Batcave, (Wayne Manor having collapsed in on the cave after the explosion settled), Alfred lures him into the main part of the cavern, and they trigger explosives to expose Batman to the sun. During the struggle, Two-Face and Killer Croc attempt to kill Alfred and Gordon after Batman is nearly fatally injured, but Alfred sacrifices his life to give Batman the strength needed to save Gordon. Having killed Killer Croc and Two-Face by 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 finally finds the peace that he has been unable to find since his demonic transformation.[4]

Critical reaction[edit]

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 story on the list by Elseworlds.[5]

Other appearances[edit]

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).[6] 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 a home to vampires and the supernatural. The illustration 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.

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.[7]

In Batman: Gotham Knight, a vampiric Batman appears within one of the film's stories, "Have I Got A Story For You".[8]

In Batman: The Brave and the Bold season one 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 hallucinates that he is transformed into vampire after being bitten by Dala.

In Justice League: Gods and Monsters, Batman is a vampire, although it is not Bruce Wayne but Kirk Langstrom, transformed through a flawed attempt to cure himself of an unspecified disease. Producer Bruce Timm has stated that he always wanted to turn Batman into a vampire.[9]

Earth-43[edit]

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 who 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 is turned into a vampire by Batman and is killed by a now adult Dick Grayson. Grayson has become obsessed with killing Batman ever since he murdered his parents. After finally locating his crypt, he finds that he cannot bring himself to kill Batman who 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 succumbed to the vampire parasite as well. 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, through a tunnel of some sort. However, the pre-Flashpoint Earth-43's timeline is explored in the following Convergence tie-ins issues: Convergence: Swamp Things #1-2 and Convergence: Wonder Woman #1-2, featuring the appearances of the Vampire Batman and Joker, as well as vampiric versions of Poison Ivy and Catwoman (a purely evil version of the one from "Bloodstorm").

Merchandise[edit]

  • 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.
  • In 2013, Mattel released a figure of the vampiric Batman as part of its Batman Unlimited line.

Publication[edit]

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.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ Batman and Dracula: Red Rain (1991)
  3. ^ Batman: Bloodstorm (1994)
  4. ^ Batman: Crimson Mist (1998)
  5. ^ The 25 Greatest Batman Graphic Novels, Hilary Goldstein, IGN, June 13, 2005
  6. ^ "voting form for ''Countdown: Arena'' website". Dccomics.com. Archived from the original on 2011-06-09. Retrieved 2010-12-30. 
  7. ^ "DC INFINITE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL #1". DC Comics. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  8. ^ "World's Finest". Retrieved 2010-12-30. 
  9. ^ "Bruce Timm Interview: Justice League, Batman, Harley Quinn, & More". DoGTech. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  10. ^ "Newsarama.com: DC ANNOUNCES DECEMBER 2007 COLLECTED EDITIONS". Forum.newsarama.com. Archived from the original on 2009-11-04. Retrieved 2010-12-30.