Off The Shelf: DC vs Vampires #4

The title pretty much says it all… DC heroes. Vampires. Pure fun. 

Writer: James Tynion IV & Matthew Rosenberg

Art and color by: Otto Schmidt

Welcome friends to another Off The Shelf, Church of the Geek’s review of recent comic book titles. I am Brian Bennett, campus pastor of the Lutheran Campus Ministry in Greater Pittsburgh and our student group PSALM serving Pitt, Carnegie Mellon, Chatham and Carlow universities AND I’m also your regular co-host of Church of the Geek.

I have made the joke a few times now that half of the DC books out right now are Batman books. Not that I am complaining.. Too much. There are some great Batman books right out. But what I love about DC right now is that many of their titles are limited series. I can hop in for a series and not worry about a super long term commitment. Other than the regular Batman title, all the other DC titles I have are these limited series. Batman: The Impostor, Swamp Things: Green Hell, Titans, Wonder Woman: Evolution, Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow (watch for this excellent title to get a whole episode… it’s that good.) and then finally DC vs Vampires, written by James Tynion IV and Matthew Rosenberg, with art and colors by Otto Schmidt.

Maybe I feel like I have been too deep and theological for the past few Off the Shelf reviews.Dealing with the stories we tell and how we understand the universe are important, but I also remember what my great aunt said when I went off to a rather academically oriented college. She wrote me a note and told me “Remember to have fun!” Clearly she was worried I would be all studies we all know that “All work and no play makes Jack a homicidal maniac.”

Nonetheless I have not forgotten to have fun. And picking up DC vs Vampires proves it. This title is a delightful romp. I have seen it mentioned in other reviews as an Elseworlds title… and if so, great… but really, I don’t care a ton about continuity. I am cool with stand alone stories or limited continuity. After all, I am a pastor. I deal with multiple theological understandings all held in tension… I mean… atonement theories anyone? Vicarious satisfaction, Christus Victor, Moral Influence, Penal substitution, scapegoat… but wait.. This is not a theological reflection on comic continuity and atonement theories… This is about fun… not that debating and considering atonement theories isn’t fun. But it isn’t fun like DC vs Vampires, which I think I will just go on calling DCVV… you know, for fun.

DCVV is, as I said, a delightful romp, with death and undeath around every corner. The queen of the vampires is dead and whoever now rules over the vampires is waging war on humanity, so it needs to get the heroes out of the way. DCVV #4 is a high point in the tension so far as distrust and lies have been sown throughout the superhero world. Several heroes are dead. And everyone keeps looking at Batman. Maybe they all read one of my favorite Elseworlds title Red Rain, where Batman IS a vampire. I really do love the Elseworlds. No offense to “Marvel’s What If…?” stories, but Elseworlds always seemed far more imaginative. BUT… we do see many corners of the DC universe engaged and involved in this story. It has a bit of a grown up Superfriends feel to it.

The writing is clever and snappy. There are some really excellent one-liners. It might have been a joke in the first issue that might have sealed the deal for me on this book. The art is excellent and the work that Schmidt does to ship Nightwing and Batgirl. I can only say his art is playful in that area and his action scenes are outstanding.

DCVV is honest. You get exactly what the title says. The DC universe against vampires. It isn’t deep. You don’t have to read between lines. Maybe I could wax theological about life and the unending pursuit of death towards us, or existential despair… But I won’t because DCVV is just a fun book that leans into a more Saturday morning ethos that has been sharpened by decades of dark and gritty tales. It’s practically a perfect blend for me.

If you want to eschew fun, avoid this book at all costs. If you’re fun and want some witty banter and undead action… and lots of Batman… I did say that half of DC’s titles are Batman titles, didnt I?.. then DCVV might just be for you.

Geek be with you.

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