Apocalypse is one of my favorite characters in the Marvel universe. There is just something about him as a character that I really like, the same can be said for Dracula. I think it has something to do with the fact that both come from ancient backgrounds and are still around today. Anyways, I found there was a miniseries where the two duke it out, so I felt I had to read it.
The seies is written by Frank Tieri who is a comic writer from Brooklyn New York. From his Wikipedia page he seems to have written on a number of titles for Marvel and DC including: Wolverine, Iron Man, and JSA Classified just to name a few. As far as I can tell his whole career has been writing comics, which is pretty unusual. Most of the time writers have quite a few different mediums in their portfolio, but Tieri seems to be totally focused on comics. The other thing that I found strange is that he seems to have started with Marvel at the beginning of his career, this again is somewhat out of the norm. From past research it seems that most comic writers get their start at smaller publishers or have their own self-published comic before they catch the eye of the big guys. I think it is quite remarkable that Tieri started his career with one of the biggest comic publishers, quite impressive.
This one starts out in the 1300’s where Vlad Dracula also known as Vlad Tapes, which is actually factual information and a real person from history, has just successfully defended his kingdom against an invading horde of Turks. After the battle is won a group of riders approaches that seems to have unparalleled strength and power and slaughters Vlad and the rest of his army. Fast forward to 1800’s London where mysterious deaths around the city have the locals spooked. Bodies are turning up seemingly drained of blood with two small puncture wounds on the neck. Local authorities follow clues that lead them to a wealthy family in London. From there they uncover a secret organization that is loyal to the mighty Apocalypse who must be woken from his slumber as prominent members of the organization are now missing or dead. What follows is a showdown between one of the most powerful mutants of all time vs. the master of the undead, Dracula.
This one was not bad, what I liked most about this is the mixing of two completely different literary characters. Dracula is one of the most well known and most copied monster of all time. It is amazing that such an old character, he is well over 100 years old, has been around and is still popular. With that being said what is even more interesting is how he was written into the comic world.
Even though this was a cool concept I did think the story waned a little. I was really excited about the idea of two ancient monsters having a go at each other, but I felt the story was lacking a little. I thought the grudge Dracula held against Apocalypse was a little too simple for the story. I was hoping for something deeper and more meaningful when it came to this. Before reading I remember thinking, goodness what could happen between these two to make them want to kill each other, there must be some great tragedy that occurs, well not quite. So I was a little disappointed with this aspect of the story.
I did like how the story sort of follows the actual story of Dracula by Stoker, even introducing the famed vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing. This I thought was pretty neat for a few reasons. One being again that such old and famous literary characters were now appearing in a superhero comic, I still think that is pretty cool. This story is a few years and to me that kind of shows how far comics have come and the creativity involved in some of the stories. I do like the mixing of the characters, plus is it something that I have not really seen in the comic medium, especially the superhero stories.
The artwork in this one is what I call your “normal run of the mill comic artwork.” I do not think it is cartoony but certainly leans more that way. Still I do not, by any means, think it is bad, there is plenty of detail which is what I like, but there is nothing to set is apart. Not to be cruel but it is very unoriginal, meaning that it is mostly what you would see in any superhero comic you open up. There is nothing wrong with this, and I hope I am not coming off as bashing it. The colors were very rich and vibrant, they seemed to really jump off the page. Page layouts were ordinary, although there were some neat layouts that were behind the scenes. What I mean is that there were some cool designs and such behind the art windows that helped give a little extra to the artwork. You don’t see this very often so that was a nice mix up. The crown jewel of this series is the cover art. It is up there with some of the coolest I have seen, really top notch stuff. If this book would have been drawn like the covers it would have completely changed the whole tone of the book, and made it so much deeper and darker. I felt with the current art style the book was not dark enough given the genre and the characters involved. You have the ruler of the undead vs. one of the most powerful mutants of all time, a dark sort of stylized artwork would have added a spooky element to the story.
Since we are talking about vampires and comics, check out this article I found a while back. It talks about the censorship early on with comics, mainly the Comics Code Authority which seems to have almost ruined comics back in the day. It is a pretty interesting read and really makes you think about how far comics have come in so many different aspects. It also makes you wonder how many great stories we as an audience missed out on because they either were or would be censored. Let’s all agree that censoring literature, not matter the genre or format, is never a good idea.
All in all I think this story was okay, nothing over the top. The story lacked some much needed drama in my opinion, and seemed to speed through so many different aspects that could have made it better. With that said I do love all the characters that were introduced and it is really cool to see how they are all thrown into a new medium, and as the reader you get to see how it all comes together. I recommend checking this one out if you are a fan of Dracula or Apocalypse, otherwise there is plenty other good stories out there to read.