Monday, July 11, 2022

Review: DC Vs. Vampires #7

Anj reading 'DC vs Vampires'.

A sentence I never thought would be true.

To be honest, the whole zombie craze came and went without me ever getting interested. So books like this never really grab my attention. And when I saw that most of the super-heroes I care about  were turned into vampires, I actively looked away. 

And that is crazy because the creative team of writers James Tynion IV and Matthew Rosenberg as well as artist Otto Schmidt are all creators I trust. These are people I usually follow to projects.

So what changed?

Well, the solicits did their job, playing up the role Supergirl is going to have in the second half of this miniseries. And it sported Kara on the cover. With now Supergirl solo title on the market, I am looking for content. So why not give it a shot.

This was a pretty fun issue. Tynion and Rosenberg must have known this would be  jumping on point because they give us a quick and efficient recap. We don't need all the details, just the broad strokes. The world is plunged in darkness, overrun by heroes and villains turned into vampires and running the world like their own little blood farm. We also get a solid action piece where we see just how powerful the threat is as a bunch of c-listers get taken out pretty easily. But best of all, we get to see how important Supergirl is ... not only to the physical fight against the vamps but to the morale of the world. Incredible. It is an excellent opening chapter.

Schmidt's art is wonderul. It somehow walks the fine line. It is minimalist but complicated. His line work is fine and his expressive work is fantastic. The Supergirl in the book is haggard and depowered. I look forward to seeing her drawn by him when she is restored.

Good Supergirl stuff!

So it looks like I'm in for this mini-series back end. On to the issue.

As I said, we started with a decent flashback. 

Most of the heroes have been turned. Some of the villains have been turned. Dick Grayson is the king of the vampires. And no sun shines, the atmosphere having been flooded with a layer of ash.

Okay, things are dismal. Even Superman is a vampire. 

But it all looks horrific. And seeing Grodd standing side by side with the heroes is crazy.

But then the new action.

A bunch of mostly street level heroes are doing their best to get back to their sanctuary city. Things aren't good if the best you have are Adam Strange, Wild Dog, Peacemaker, Killer Frost, and Mr. Bones. How can they stand up against one vampire let alone a Wonder Woman vampire?

And it doesn't look like a miracle from space is going to happen, at least not according the Wild Dog.

That mismatch of power is played out. 

The caravan is stopped by Wonder Woman, Firestorm, Plastic Man and ... Heatwave? Boy, the vampires will let anyone join the ranks! 

In scant seconds, the team is basically wiped out.

Great art here with spectacular coloring. Schmidt colors his own work. Spectacular.

I love this sequence. 

Mr. Bones is threatened by Firestorm but gives some standard quips I have come to expect from him. Yes, he remembers Firestorm as the most boring member of the JLA.

In something of an Identity Crisis nod, Firestorm is killed by a sword/stake through the heart. The resulting explosion briefly incapacitates the vampire squad.

Firestorm killed again!

It turns out that Jayna of the Wonder Twins is the slayer. She finds the skull of Mr. Bones, still alive. He tells her the car must be driven to the sanctuary city and quickly.

Zan must have died earlier, putting Jayna on this path of vengeance.

But we do get a brief glimpse behind the hard exterior. Bones talks about trying to live up to a hero she has lost. It is a small moment but you can see just how weary Jayna is.

So why was this caravan so important? Well, inside the trunk was Supergirl. And she is important.

She might not have her powers on this darkened world. But she is something powerful, a symbol. 

The sanctuary city is Kandor, buried in mud and protected by Killer Croc.

Once the Atom shrinks Kara down, the coloring changes dramatically. Everything is dazzling whites.

The heroes are living there hoping they won't be discovered. And the Kandorians aren't around. Superman, as a vampire. went through and killed everyone.

Again, I love the art and coloring here. When the Atom says it was Kal-El who killed the Kandorians, the characters are suddenly in shadow, the background all blood red. It screams the emotion of mourning of who Superman has become as well as the blood carnage. Fantastic.

The heroes are in hiding but the also know the power of Supergirl being there.

I like how Steel checks in almost immediately. He is family. 

Things are bleak though and the resistance is divided.

Supergirl wants someone to get her above the smoke clouds so she can become re-powered. She can then scatter the smog to let the sunshine in, giving the humans some defense and advantage.

But Green Arrow wants no part of it. The heroes first mission must be to save people, specifically the people being raised as blood cattle at a farm in Smallville. And Babs wants to head to Gotham to kill Nightwing.

One ragtag group. Three missions. But it feels like one strategy to win the war while the other two are just battle.

I do like how sort of drained and tired Schmidt makes Supergirl look. But I do like how she immediately becomes a leader. And I like how people pause and listen when she arrives. She is a respected hero, even in this group.

Meanwhile, the revolution has a captive. A vampire Harley Quin is being experimented on by Professor Pyg. Perhaps she is a key?

I wasn't expecting much from this. But the art is dazzling and the dialogue snappy. But the best thing was the feeling of respect people seemed to give Kara.  I really liked that.

So what do you think? And should I go out to get the first 6 issues?

Overall grade: B+


Anonymous said...

The timing is good for picking up the first arc for essentially half price.

Tomorrow, DC is releasing these 2 mini-collections:

DC vs. Vampires Coffin Edition #1 - issues 1-3 for $5.99
DC vs. Vampires Crypt Edition #1 - issues 4-6 for $5.99

Otto Schmidt has been great, though he wasn't able to draw all of the first 6 - he had assistance on some (by Simone Di Meo, who is also good, but I find much more stylized than Schmidt). Even with the art assist, the book paused for several months. In the interim, there were 2 one-shots, including the latest one focusing on what Harley Quinn is up to. I hope Schmidt was able to catch up and will be drawing the rest of the series.

And now a 6-part tie-in series - "DC vs. Vampires: All-Out War" - is starting next week.

I'm enjoying it. It's better than lots of other DC books I'm buying these days.

Looking ahead, Supergirl is featured in the solicits for #8 and #9, and will be on the cover of #9, also drawn by Guillem March. Fighting alongside Jayna.

(Hal did kill Zan in #1, and in a truly horrifying way!)


Bostondreams said...

Hal was the one who was the Vampire hidden inside the League. He killed Zan in a giant hard light blender, drank him, then flushed him down the drain, leaving only a finger.
He also killed Barry and turned Diana (that latter bit really annoyed me because it was just so dumb how it happened). :-/

Harley isn't a vampire, I think. In one of the tie-ins, it was revealed that the dead Lex Luthor's blood could be the key to defeating the vampires, and in order to keep it from VampSelina and others, Harley injected the sample into herself.

Also, fun fact: most of those League members you see in the group shot became vampires because Bruce refused to trust anyone. He weakened Clark with kryptonite and that allowed him to be turned...before Grayson tore out Bruce's heart... :-/

The logic of the universe makes no sense, but it's a fun series.

Martin Gray said...

Definitely, you should have listened to me months ago. Tut!

SG Fan said...

I enjoyed this one. Through Casually Comics (great YouTube channel BTW, and SG features her own playlist IIRC), I had followed the DC vs Vampire stories. Via Twitter, I saw one of the artists talking how Kara was going to feature in the future stories, and glad to see she indeed is important.

I loved how they wrote her and even depowered/weakened, she still is determined to do good. I'm surprised Anj you didn't mention the bit of Batgirl/Supergirl stuff we get. I enjoyed the Steel moment as well, but it was nice to see Kara/Babs had history too.

All in all, it's great to see Supergirl presented in such a heroic/positive light in comics.

Anonymous said...

I dunno, when Batman got snuffed, the cheap heat angle to this mini got awfully obscure, for a while I thought the A-List was gonna get slaughtered (Kal El, Diana anyone?) leaving the legacies and sidekicks to fight it out for the survival of Earth...then Harley Overexposed Quinn showed ip with the salvation of humanity flowing thru her veins. Now I am content in the knowledge that the entire DCU is gonna get jobbed out to Harley Quinn, which is great because now I can hate read this mishaugas in peace.
I have to say, Dick Grayson is an embarrassingly stupid vampire king, I don’t understand why everyone keeps losing to him? He has denuded the Earth surface of all plantlife which means oxygen isn’t being renewed, nor does his his human “livestock” receive any sustenance, how are they getting fed? He is basically killing off the biosphere that supports his own vampiric food supply...I guess he has an “own the humans” deathwish or something.
As for Supergirl, arriving unconscious in the trunk of a car isn’t exactly her most dignified moment, but then she was once all but affianced to “Ethan the Gardener”...I guess no one in Kandor knew how to make a decent yellow sun grenade or how to repurpose sunstones as anti vampire tech...etc etc.
My point being there is an unusual amount of suspension of disbelief in play here for a mini that will end on a “Harley Quinn” rules the world motif...


Anj said...

Thanks for commments!

Yes, I should have mentioned the Babs/Kara moments as I do love that World's Finest pairing.

Thanks for fill-ins on story as well as ways to catch up quickly.

I agree that it would be hard to maintain humans as livestock if you destroy humanity's ability to live so that does make little sense. And yes, Supergirl being depowered and in a car trunk isn't the most noble introduction. But it is clear that people look to her with some respect. Not something I can always say.

Looking forward to the rest!