Dracula vs. Marvel vs. DC
It’s Halloween (or close to it), and that means it’s time for one thing: monsters! Specifically, one of my favorite monsters: Dracula. The Prince of Darkness is no stranger to the world of funny books, and has crossed paths with a surprising number of comic book heroes, from Spider-Man, to Superman, and even Zorro. There’s a lot of Dracula stuff to sort through, but not all of it is good. For every Tomb of Dracula or Captain Britain and MI-13, there’s an Apocalypse vs. Dracula. But these two stories stand out as my favorites of the Count’s appearances in the big two.
Uncanny X-Men #159
Uncanny X-Men #159 features one of the craziest fights in Marvel Comics, and marks the first time I witnessed the Marvel take on the Prince of Darkness. For some reason, I’ve always loved the fact that Marvel counts Dracula as one of their villains, and this issue was one that has been burned into my brain since I found a copy of it at a yard sale as a kid.
Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkeiwicz’s comic is extremely straightforward: Dracula has decided that Storm is going to be his new undead bride, and the X-Men aren’t going to let that happen. There are plenty of fun references to Stoker’s original tale, including having the Count reside in Belvedere Castle, surrounded by giant wolves and rats.
What follows is a pretty cool fight, as the Count absolutely demolishes the mutant team. His casual dismissal of Wolverine’s attempt to make a cross with his claws is my favorite, as is his reaction to Kitty trying to phase through his arm. While the ending is pretty weak, it’s still one of the best uses of Dracula in the Marvel Universe, and was even referenced decades later in Victor Gischler’s relaunch of X-Men, which had an army of vampires attack the X-Men’s home base of Utopia for some reason.
The start of the Red Rain Elseworlds Trilogy, Batman & Dracula: Red Rain is one of the scariest comics I’ve ever read (probably because I was way too young to have read it when I did).
Like Uncanny X-Men #159, the set up of Doug Moench and Kelly Jones’ battle of the bats is simple: Dracula has come to Gotham, and Batman has to stop him. Unfortunately for the Dark Knight, he’s just a man who is going up against the Lord of all Vampires. He needs help, and he gets it from the vampire Tanya, who visits Bruce every night and slowly turns him into a vampire. Bruce still has his humanity, as long as he never drinks the blood of a human (which leads to some problems in the later volumes), and he also gets some sweet bat wings to fly around on, which leads to an awesome battle between the two Batmen as they fly above Gotham City.
Red Rain is a decidedly darker story than the X-Men one, and much of that comes from Kelly Jones’ delightfully spooky art. Jones does an excellent job of showing off the brutality of the Count’s attacks, and when Batman and Dracula face off, it’s extremely awesome. There’s mood coming off every page, and some extremely haunting imagery in the tale. Of course, this story leaves Batman in a really strange place, and practically demands a revisit. Thankfully there are follow-ups (Bloodstorm and Crimson Mist), and they are just as awesome as Red Rain.
Posted on October 31, 2014, in Comic Books and tagged Batman, Batman and Dracula: Red Rain, Batman vs. Dracula, Dracula, Dracula Comics, Dracula vs. X-Men, Halloween, Red Rain, Red Rain Trilogy, Uncanny X-Men #159. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.