Timed for the Halloween season, DC vs. Vampires #1 kicks off a new spin on the DC Universe where the heroes must take on a familiar genre. But, if you’re expecting something like DCeased, where the DC Universe fought zombies, you’ll be disappointed and surprised. The debut issue does a solid job of setting itself apart from the numerous apocalyptic battle alternative timeline miniseries that feel like they’ve become a regular thing with the big two.
Written by James Tynion IV and Matthew Rosenberg, DC vs. Vampires #1 digs into a rather ignored side of DC’s history. The story focuses on Andrew Bennett, a well established character and vampire as he attempts to get a warning to the Justice League. The “truce” between the vampires and humans is over with whomever behind the shift planning for more than a simple war. Villains have fallen or been turned to the vampire side leaving a threat that’s hidden in the shadows.
Bennett was the main character in the far too short I, Vampire comic series that was part of the New 52 (though has roots before) and lasted 19 issues. That series, like this, focused on the vampire world of the DC Universe and after its wrap, Bennett has only popped up on occasions. Tynion and Rosenberg seem to play off of that in some ways with the absence of Bennett being almost a plot point to the story. The lack of a real focus on the vampire side of things adds to that aspect as well. It’s a solid use of what DC hasn’t focused on in years to help drive the plot and work it in naturally.
Tynion and Rosenberg also deliver a hectic pace about it all. You can feel Bennett’s fear and frenetic scrambling to get to safety and find allies. The mood the two set out to instill in the first issue is clear and comes across the page well. Bennett’s on the run focus and the fear and dread presented deliver a comic that’s a classic “man on the run story” with a slight Hitchcock like conspiracy mixed with modern twisted humor and action.
That’s helped by the art and color of Otto Schmidt. Schmidt’s style helps the paranoia and scramble. Bennett as depicted by Schmidt feels like a character that’s looking over his shoulder. And us readers need to as well. Small hints at art deliver what’s to come with some characters in the story. While those aspects aren’t answered in the first issue, they point to a lot of backstory we’ve yet to learn and explore. Tom Napolitano’s lettering is on point with a slightly different style for those turned giving them an uneasy feel. The lettering adds to the atmosphere of it all with the text giving the characters turned more of an evil persona.
DC vs. Vampires #1 is a solid debut with some twists and turns you’ll need to experience for yourself. While it takes the familiar formula of alternative timeline heroes fighting (fill in the blank genre) the way the story is presented and the details makes it stand out as more than fill in the threat. There’s a lot of potential here that’ll keep readers on their toes, especially after that final segment of the comic. This is perfect for the Halloween season and perfect to sit back, relax, and just enjoy.
Story: James Tynion IV, Matthew Rosenberg Art: Otto Schmidt
Color: Otto Schmidt Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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