BOOK REVIEW – JIM STARLIN & JIM APARO THE BATMAN & DRACULA TRILOGY Titan Books D.C Comics. BATMAN & DRACULA (1999) CRIMSON MIST/ BLOODSTORM (1994)
This is a breathtaking and totally unexpected take on the Batman mythos in the directions in which it takes our hero. Those who know and love Batman fully expect him to win and survive his adventures, so the death and heroic martyrdom sacrifice of their hero in this trilogy is extremely bold. That he would fight Dracula sooner or later is no surprise. How it is handled is incredibly inventive. It begins straightforwardly enough as vampires under Dracula’s control bring a red plague of death to Gotham City.
Much is made of the similarities between the protagonists, both having the bat as their most iconic symbol, and both working by night. Dracula proves to be a powerful adversary, fighting Batman to a standstill. In a great sequence, Batman draws a cross on a wall in his own BLOOD. Dracula is transfixed, drawn to the blood, but repelled by the symbol of Christianity at the same time. Learning that the vampires are using the crypts and tunnels under his estate as their hiding and resting place, Batman blows up Wayne Manor in the first of many shocks this story delivers. However, Batman knows that he must become a vampire to beat the evil Count, thanks to a female friendly vampire. Batman makes this sacrifice at the close of the first Book, and Dracula is defeated, but at huge cost. Batman is now effectively undead.
The trilogy is seen as an alternative world study to the mainstream Batman books, which continue unaffected. In The second book, Batman struggles to come to terms with his inner evil nature. He fears the day when he will take human blood himself. Worse, the Joker uses the Christian cross and other traditional anti-vampire weapons to chase Batman. Dealing with the Joker. Batman then allows his loyal servant and friend Albert to stake him. Batman is dead.
The third book sees the remaining masterminds of crime, Penguin, Riddler, etc taking over Gotham in the absence of Batman. Desperate to save their city from anarchy and destruction, Albert and Commissioner Gordon resurrect Batman, by unstaking him. He is now fully envampired, but takes out all the criminals of the stories one by one in a nihilistic blaze of glory. Now the city is clean except for one potential evildoer. Batman insists that he must die again, but now with no hope of ever coming back. Commissioner Gordon has to finish the job once and for all.
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