Friday, August 12, 2022

Review: DC Vs. Vampires #8

DC Vs. Vampires #8 came out last week but I am just getting to the review right now. 

This is a 12 issue series seemingly told in two halves so we are in the second issue of this leg. While the first issue put the players on the board, this issue moves them into position. We end with a clear idea of three plot lines that will be moving forward. I think that sort of set-up needs 2 issues to get to where we are and so I'm glad we didn't rush. I think it is crazy for a human army as small as remains on Earth to split itself into thirds. But the characters leading these plots all spell out their reasons well enough.

Writers James Tynion IV and Matthew Rosenberg clearly have a good grasp on these characters as everyone feels right. Ollie and Dinah are clearly in love but in disagreement. Barbara can't get Nightwing out of her mind. And Supergirl has just the right mix of inexperience and confidence, that fine line she needs to walk, that it all works.

The art by Otto Schmidt is wonderful. There is a sort of grindhouse rawness to it that works. The fight scenes are appropriately monstrous. And yet, there also romance scenes and more poignant scenes that soften and shine off the page. I love his work.

On to the book.

We start with a magical contingent of humans trying their best to find a magical cure for the vampirism disease in the House of Mysteries. They aren't successful.

I did love this opening sequence of Constantine bringing Damian to the House.

This whole discussion of what the difference is between a House of Secrets and a House of Mystery. The whole thing sounds like an Abbott and Costello version of the Cain/Abel discussion in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing #33. I like how Damian is just so aggravating but sort of on target here.

Meanwhile, Ollie can't abide by the blood farms in Smallville and so has to go and try and save those  humans. Black Canary can't join him because the humans have bigger missions to succeed in, like getting Supergirl to sunlight.

But they know each other and love each other well enough to know that they won't be able to dissuade the other. There is nothing left but one more night together.

I really liked this scene. The dialogue between the two is really fantastic, crisp and on target. You feel these two really love each other and therefore need to let the other do what they think is right.

Back at the House of Mystery, another magical team arrives but this one much more nefarious. Jason Blood, Raven, Klarion, Enchantress, and .... ?

Is the redhead Lilith? Is the snakewoman Kobra?

Are they vampires? Or another faction? 

Anyways, they magically rip some truth from the good guys' heads. I suppose this stolen fact will impact the overall plot in the end. But are these evil magicians vampires? If they are, why not just kill the heroes? 

Did I miss these villains in the front half?

Back in Kandor, Supergirl is mulling over her role in all this. 

This is clearly a callback to All-Star Superman. I don't think Supergirl is contemplating suicide (like the girl in A-S Superman). But she is wondering if she is strong enough to be the hero for the survivors. 

I can see how Supergirl, still young in her career might feel the weight of this responsibility. I also know Supergirl would rise up.

I do like how the Atom is a mentor here. But a sort of doubting one. Supergirl sees how everyone looks at her with hope ... but not Ryan. I like her expression on the last panel, wondering what he might know that everyone else doesn't.

I do have to say that I laughed at the first panel. I wonder if that was some meta-text from the writers. Yes,  lots of people would be real mad if he let Supergirl fall off a building. Whether on purpose or a simple typo, it is 'read mad', as if readers would be mad.

I think it is a purposeful typo.

Meanwhile, Babs is having all sorts of sexy dreams about the Dick, King of the Vampires.

These can't be random. This has to be him influencing her. 

Wonderful colors and sweeping lines in this erotic sequence.

Babs awakens from her dream and knows she has to take out Grayson.

Even moreso because a battered and bloodied Constantine shows up. He can't even remember what was taken from his mind.

Constantine looks pretty smashed up. Don't seem him look this bad that often recently.

Meanwhile, Steel and Black Manta are on a slow moving boat to Australia with Kara. That is where they think they can get her to the sun. 

But it is a slow moving boat!!

Aquaman and his vampires storm the ship. But Steel, Manta, and eventually Jayna take them out.

But I love how the powerless Kara, even here, says she is ready to fight. Here is that confidence I talked about before, that readiness to fight injustice.

And that is the end, our three plotlines on the move.

Babs, with Dinah, a freed Harley, and Frankenstein are on their way to Bludhaven.
Ollie is heading to Smallville.
And Kara and her band are going down under.
The chess pieces are on the board.

I liked this issue a lot as it gave us the backgrounds and motivations for our ragtag heroes to split up like this. And that art is glittery. 

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Great review. I actually enjoyed this less than I did previous issues. The art at times didn’t do a great job with the storytelling, for example when Jayna makes her appearance. I honestly couldn’t tell what was happening. And when Manta is about to attack the baddies I thought he was summoning them. Maybe it’s me.

Still, it’s good to have a focus on Kara.

Bostomdreams said...

The red head is Circe and the alien looking woman is actually Morgan Le Fay. And they are vamps (Raven was turned in a previous issue). I remain flummoxed how a demon can be turned. I enjoy the series but the logic of who can and can’t be turned makes no sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I like the book, but I'm with Martin re: some of the art in this issue.

I think Otto Schmidt is fantastic. His pages are superb. Barbara's dream is stunning.

But the book switched to a different artist/colorist team starting with the lab scene (with Batgirl rescuing Harley from Hugo Strange, the Thinker, and Professor Pyg). Any panel with action is just a chaotic mess. See if you can count how many different copies of Batgirl are drawn in each insane panel!

Much of the action on the boat is close to indecipherable too. Takes some work to figure out where people are standing and to distinguish Black Manta and Steel from the bad guys. The only thing on the boat that stands out clearly is Supergirl, because of the clear blue, red and yellow colors.

It's a shame that Schmidt had to be spelled by this other team (Di Nicuolo, with Casolino on colors). I don't know how obvious it is to every reader that Schmidt didn't draw the whole book, and that can only unfairly tarnish Schmidt's reputation.

Schmidt returned to draw the final, excellent page.

It would be weird if, after all of this buildup, Supergirl ultimately fails. I wouldn't put it past Rosenberg, though. He lives for twists.


Anonymous said...

The rules that allegedly govern vampirism in the DCU change from issue to issue, mostly to keep the ludicrously overwhelming advantage safely on the side of the Undead. Exp. Superman, despite a solar energized metabolism he can be successfully turned as a vampire, you’d think thats the one thing he and his cousin would be immune to..but as usual the clumsiest clunkiest thinking goes into neutralizing The Supers. Agree with the above re. the chaotic artwork, and sending Supergirl on a slow boat to Australia is the sort of borderline poor decisionmaking that have hampered the heroes from hour one. Mostly I am sort of gleefully hate reading this, waiting to see exactly when Supergirl will get jobbed out, they are taking their time with it, unlike the DC v Zombies mishaugas where she gets turned halfway down page two...