Normally, when I dislike something, I don't bother writing about it. There's no point, I'd rather write about something fun. But sometimes, oh, sometimes a gem comes along. Something that is so bad I feel almost obligated to share it with you. They lost me at, Superman and Batman Vs. Vampires and Werewolves. I'd rather scratch my nails down a chalkboard then ever say that title out loud again. Even saying it in my mind is making me twitch. The following are my issue-by-issue recaps of the mini-series previously published on GEN (and an early look at the last installment) with added scans for effect.I don't have anything for the first because it was released before I started my column and there was no way I was going back to re-read it. Believe me, you'll get the gist. (Note to readers: I am a big fan of vampires and I think werewolves are cool)
Issue #2 First issue it was actually Wonder Woman and Batman, this time it’s Batman and Nightwing though Superman finally makes an appearance on the very last page. Nightwing brings a werewolf to the Batcave where Batman already has a vampire captured and concluded is the real deal. Before passing out, the werewolf mentions Dr. Combs is behind his transformation. Batman heads to his office only to find him on the floor with an amphibious creature climbing out of his mouth. Dimeter, the vampire from last issue, helps to distract the creature so Batman can kill it. Too bad there’s something much bigger, with tentacles no less, up on the roof. Here’s hoping the team in the title of this book will do something interesting next time.
Issue #3 This limited series might be dragging it’s way through six issues but they manage to reference Lovecraft and Warcraft in this one so it’s can’t be all bad, right? Right?? Again, not much happens this issue but at least Superman is finally in it from the start. He’s busy trying to fight a giant fish/slug thing that happens to be magic while Batman tries getting more information out of the vampire Dimeter. Doctor Combs opened a door the the Land of the Un-Dead while trying to open a door the the Land of the (just) Dead. Superman slays a vampire who was attacking a young man and feels sorta bad about it, then he gets attacked by a werewolf who tells him and his friend to butt-out. Unfortunately, Combs gets to the young man Superman just saved before he can get back to him. Batman gets surrounded by vampires in the park but is saved by Green Arrow and Jason Blood. The preview says “thrilling conclusion” next but this is listed as a six-parter.
Issue #4 I can’t tell you how much I’m beginning to despise this book. Sadly I’m one of those people who must finish what she starts. In a hospital Superman finds Chadd, the young boy he failed to save. He’s in the process of stealing blood and Superman thinks he might be able to save him because he hasn’t fed yet. Green Arrow and Jason Blood show up just as some more werewolves attack. They try to kill Chadd but Superman prevents them from doing so. Batman says all his research has shown the condition is irreversible. He whispers Langstrom as Superman flies Chadd away to safety. Green Arrow explains Dr. Combs once tracked him down while looking for people who had died and come back to life. Dimeter shows up with a werewolf named Janko. He says they were the first of Combs’ experiments and they believe it can be reversed. Another gang of vampires and werewolves shows up and Blood must call on Etrigan for help. Combs also shows up and is caught but Etrigan says him, Dimeter and Janko are not what they seem.
Issue #5 It’s revealed that Dr. Combs has been using Dimeter and Janko’s blood to spread the vampire and werewolf disease but Etrigan is convinced he has no more power to do so. Superman takes Chadd to see Dr. Langstrom. Langstrom hopes a transfusion of blood will help the boy but he’s not positive. Before they have a chance to begin a few werewolves attack (surprise, surprise) and Langstrom must inject himself to become Man-Bat to fight them off. The sun is about up so Batman sends Dimeter home but not before searching his apartment to find out what he’s been eating to survive. He claims he has some control and has been surviving on plasma from a local hospital but after Batman leaves he calls a young woman and asks her to stop by. Seems he’s been feeding off a vampire groupie a little bit at a time. It feels like more has happened in this issue than in previous installments but it’s still not enough to make me believe this series needed to be six issues long. One more to go.
Issue #6 Finally, it’s over. I can now honestly say that after sticking it out through six issues nothing of consequence happened at all in this mini-series. That boy Chadd that Superman was so desperate to save? The blood transfusion Dr. Langstrom performed did nothing and he woke up a vampire. The best part had to be when he jumped out the window into sunlight and DIED. Just like that. Oh well, sorry Superman. Oh and we’re gonna need his corpse as bait, bring it along! Etrigan uses texts found in Dr. Combs’ office to perform a ritual that will bring forth the fish-like beast (from issue #2) so they can kill it and hopefully turn Dimeter and Janko into humans again. A bunch of other undead creatures arrive to try and stop them and of course they prevail, but not entirely. The beast, who never really seemed much of a threat to begin with, is sent to another plane of existence but Dimeter and Janko are unchanged. The regular vampires still hanging around have reverted back to humans but because they were the original creations they don’t. Oh and Superman, if you hadn’t let Chadd jump out that window he would have turned back to a human too. How’s that kryptonite knife feel in your side? Ugh. Janko leaves pissed off at everyone and Dimeter gets a ride from his vampire groupie Liv, who we never learned anything else about, vowing to find a cure for himself. Dr. Combs is locked away in Arkam with lots of time on his hands to think up a new scheme. The DC Nation page asks, “Want to see Superman and Batman fight more monsters? Let us know!” If it’s gonna be like this? No, no and no.
Well there you have it. This series started around Halloween and seemed like a fun, appropriate concept title for the season and it might have had it been a one-shot or at most (I'll be generous) three issues. Six were entirely unnecessary. For something called...I'm not going to write it again...it would have been nice if it actually focused on the two heroes it named. How could Superman not have shown up until the end of issue two? Why were there so many other heroes involved? Why did Batman not actually do anything important? I could go on and on. I've never read anything else by Kevin VanHook and this has guaranteed I won't.
Don't give up publishing stories about vampires and werewolves DC, just do it better next time.