DC Vs Vampires: Hunters #1 review

In a world where the heroes and villains of the DC Universe are willing or unwilling participants in a war between vampires and humans, the newly Undead Damian Wayne has chosen his side.

The vampires!

Or not… that’s Damian and Martian Manhunter J’onn J’onzz play acting in a bid to get the current Robin close to the King of the Vampires. With J’onn’s Big Yellow Fasteners (copyright: Mon-El) as proof of his kill, Damian drops by the HQ of the ‘Global Vampire Coalition’, the former Wayne Foundation building. Has he done enough to win an audience with the once heroic Nightwing (Nightking?).

Time for Plan B then.

This spin-out of the current DC Vs Vampires mini-series doesn’t widen the ambition of the story or up the stakes (sorry) but it is a good character piece for Bat-brothers Damian and Dick. We learn why Damian, an entitled young man we might reasonably expect to welcome the power to lord it over everyone, is fighting for humanity. As for Dick, it’s demonstrated that his feelings for Damian are… complicated.

Matthew Rosenberg, who has been writing the main series with James Tynion IV, goes solo here and you can’t see the unjoin. The world feels dangerous, the plotting is clear and, as already noted, the character work is great.

Illustrator Neil Googe gives us a very decent Damian and Dick, as well as a nicely distinguished Alfred. And his staging of scenes more than does the trick; Damian’s flight from Dick’s domain includes two of the best pages in the book. Here’s one of them.

It’s a treat to see the comic page used differently to the norm, so a sincere ‘Good work‘ to Googe and Rosenberg. Well done, too, to colourist Antonio Fabela, for the intense tones…I particularly enjoy the redness of Damian’s mask eyelets when he gets his vampire on, and the texturing of Gotham buildings is excellent. Letters are by Troy Peteri, they’re especially effective in a scene featuring Damian’s encounter with a JLI alumnus.

Talking of which, Ice appears on that list of ‘the King’s enemies’ along with various other characters. Frost, the former Killer Frost turned Justice Leaguer, is also shown. That’s two characters with cold powers… could that be a particular weakness of the vamps?

I suppose red is a signature vampire colour but there’s too much of it on the cover by Jonboy Meyers; the overall impression is Damian being intense, but when isn’t Damian being intense? It doesn’t tell me anything about the story.

If you’re enjoying DC Vs Vampires, you’ll most likely enjoy this – I’m not sure why it’s not part of the main series, maybe because of the strong focus on one character. It’s a great Damian story, it’s a fun DCU story. Recommended.

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