In the Elseworlds stories no character has been focused on as much as Batman, in these fantasy worlds set apart from official DC continuity, Batman has been The Green Lantern, a Medieval Knight and a religious Vigilante.
All this pales into insignificance when we examine Batman: Red Rain, which pitches The Dark Knight against Dracula himself. When you think about it, it’s a perfect combination of protagonist and antagonist.
Dracula has operated for centuries in secret, keeping himself away from the gaze of the public and choosing his targets carefully. But recently, he’s grown tired of this approach and has become more aggressive, travelling to Gotham City he intends to grows his own vampire legion, an army of the undead to take over the city from it’s protector The Batman.
It’s a fairly melodramatic and standard plotline, but it works particularly well, it introduces Batman to allies in this eternal war against the Vampire hordes and eventually they disclose to Batman that they believe the only way for him to successfully defeat Dracula is to become one of them – a Vampire – a true hunter of the night.
As mentioned before the overall plot could be considered Cliched but with each page there’s a new twist in a narrative which seems predictable, but halfway through the story – when Batman grows wings, you realise that although the narrative structure seems familiar it’s actually fairly unique.
And it kicks ass!
Doug Moench’s story telling is brilliant, his prose is lush, vivid and is indicative of Bram Stokers original, heavy language but with a modern edge that makes the whole narrative accessible. His pacing is perfect and how he portrays the environment, drawing the reader into a world of 90’s grunge and old world gothic is intense and captivating.
The art is as equally vivid, the design is as clever as it’s imagery and the colouring creates an atmosphere which is rich but also starkly dismal.
It’s a great start to a promising Vampiric trilogy