Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Heroes vs. Horror (Part 1, The Undead)

Well, those Halloween reviews were a total fucking blast, and I need new projects to keep myself sane, so I figured "why stop there?", so, all I needed was a new genre topic.

And it needed to be broad, so I could run it for a good goddamned long time.

Well, why not superheroes?
As a genre (or, sub-genre), it's one of the top three geek flavors, horror being one, and spaceships being the third.

And what better way to transition over, than actual superhero/horror crossovers?

So, here, I review all the times meta-humans and/or costumed adventurers have tangled with monsters of the silver screen.

Let's start wiiiith....

The Batman vs. Dracula.

Fuck it, I'll dispense with the whole "film/history", thing for these ones, and do straight reviews.

A neat little flick.
I wasn't too dippy about the whole "THE Batman", re-imagining, so I didn't follow the show at all, but, this story pares things down to basics in such a way, you don't have to be too acquainted with the quirks of this timeline, and you could as easily blend it into your Bat-verse of choice.

Anyway, it's Batman how we know and love him best, Dracula how we know and love him best, they dance around each other, things build, then they fight.

The creators clearly borrowed a page of how "Freddy vs. Jason", was structured.

Don't tease us for 2 hours, and give us throwaway bullshit characters we don't give a fuck about, have these goddamned title characters meet right away, even if they don't fight right away, and have them bounce off each other.

And they totally do, and it's fucking great.

And fucking grim for a flick allegedly aimed at kids.

The scene with vampire Joker rolling around in blood from the bloodbank is some twisted imagery no matter what the MPAA arbitrarily tacks on there.

Yeah, this is a good 'un.
Dunno if it's up there with the Kevin Conroy stuff, but I found it enjoyable.

While we're in Bat/Drac territory, let's do.....

Batman & Dracula: Red Rain

A good book.
I actually like the sequels better, but taking this trilogy as one big novel, I happen to think you've actually got a tale as good as the Stoker novel.
At least, it gives me that same feel I got from reading Dracula.
Your mileage may vary.

Anyway, like the WB flick, you get what you ask for, a decent Batman & Dracula fight.

This one, it's an Elseworld, so Batman gets bitten, so it's vampire strength versus vampire strength.

Course, thanks to "hypertime", Elseworlds are real anyway, so ner.

Dunno why, but I delight in the caption near the end that refers to Dracula as "the lord of wickedness".
It's chuckle worthy, and cool, all at the same time.
I've used it as a melodramatic insult in flame wars.
It's fun.

But it has to be some garden variety unlikable shmoe; calling say, Dick Cheny "the lord of wickedness", is too on the nose, and diffuses the amusement.

There's an art to this shit, y'know.


Batman: Bloodstorm

So, Dracula is killed, but Batman is still cursed, still popping fangs, and trying to keep his bloodthirst away with a serum, while staking the bad vamps left over from Dracula's feedings.

This one has were-cat Catwoman, and a Ledger level creepy Joker, and is just plain fun as hell.

Shit, I gotta read these again.

Batman: Crimson Mist

So, Bats lost his struggle against the thirst, so, he had Alfred stake him.
Now, the Arkham inmates are all loose for the gajillionth time, and Alfred finds himself forced to pull the stake to revive VampBats.
But, now, he has no soul, and he kills, and is as nasty as, if not nastier than Dracs.

So, he essentially goes from Bats, to Blade, to Venom.

The ending to this one seems conclusive, but....I think a  followup could be squeezed in there.
I'd read it.

Superman vs. Dracula

Just one little issue of the regular series, but pretty decent.

The interior art is more realistic than the cover art, which kinda evokes the animateds.

Neat little story, and packed in pretty well.
Could easily be decompressed into a 75 minute film on par with the Batman & Dracula one.

We finally get to see the fanboy theories play out of what would happen if Dracula bit Superman.

This isn't an Elseworld, so, suffice it to say, Drac doesn't make out on the deal.

Superman & Batman vs Vampires & Werewolves

Mouthful of a fuckin' title there....

And...it's not just vampires & werewolves, there's a pseudo-Cthulhu, Etrigan, a mad scientist, and Wonder Woman, Nightwing, and Green Arrow tag along too.

"DC Monster Mash", would have tripped off the tongue better.

Ah, well.

Eh, it's a fun little spookhouse ride.
The writing ain't the greatest thing, but, eh, take it for what it is.
A late night B-movie put to paper with your childhood heroes taking out the trash.

Batman vs The Undead

Sequel to "Superman & Batman vs Vampires & Werewolves", AKA "DC Monster Mash".
Guess this would be "DC Monster Mash 2: Electric Boogaloo".

Eh, more of the same, but with zombies this time.

And as the cover shows, Superman is along for the ride too, why he's left out of the fuckin' title, I dunno.

I only got one issue in, and my eyes glazed over.
Probably not gonna follow up on this.

But....least we got zombies in DC for later "six degrees...", games...

Well, anyhoo, that's the DCs, now, the Marvels...

Spider-Man vs Dracula

Man, ol' Dracula sure gets around the Multiverse....

Ehhh...there's no real "versus", in this, they don't fight.

In fact, I don't think they even lay eyes on each other.
Standard Spidey issue, swinging, climbing, angst, sick Aunt May,  except Dracula is skulking around in the shadows.
Which...is odd, because Marvel has him as pretty fucking powerful, so there's no need whatever for subtlety.
So...Spidey somehow foils Dracula's schemes without ever knowing Dracula was involved, and Dracula gets away as a bat at the end.
But...again, Dracula to Spidey for a 6-degrees game...so, that's handy.

Dr. Strange vs Dracula

Now, this is the immediate followup to Spidey vs. Dracula, and there's no skulking here, Doc and Drac have a full on fucking brawl in this one!

Doc wins, turns out he's a walking vampire weakness.
Or, at least, he figures out to be one at the end.
Drac is toast...but, he's been toast before, hasn't he?

Silver Surfer vs Dracula

WTF!?!?!?....you may be asking yourself.

Yeah, this one really happened.

Turns out, Dracula magic has a similar nullifying effect on The Power Cosmic as on Kryptonian physiology, and he's able to slap Surfer around, and call him "Susan".

It's a draw, as I recall.

Did I mention Blade pops up in all three of these?
He just skulks though.

Fear Itself: Hulk vs Dracula

This one's pretty modern, like, issue 3 comes out next week, or somethin.
Wasn't too impressed.
I mean, they've got some stupid uber-plotline going on, where the big beast-heroes are all possessed by alien entities, so, Hulk isn't really Hulk.
Not only is he taken over, he's physically transformed.

And Dracula is all Francis Coppola movie armor meets Sephiroth hairdo and cheekbones, and ruling a country like Doctor Doom, so, neither character is what they are, and they don't fight toe to toe in the issue I saw anyway, and...yeah, this blows.

Like the Batman/zombie thing, I ain't continuing it.

The old ones above were a little on the cheesey side, but this stuff just blows.

The industry in its current state blows.

An uber-arc across all the titles at least every fucking year, one leading right into another, decompression in the storylines to the point you might have 5 word balloons a fucking issue, what dialog there is feels like it was written by Beavis & Butt-Head...ugg...

It started with the Image shit in the 90's.
These fucking hack artists that were like "writers? Who needs 'em!".
Then, a generation of douchebags grew up on that shit, they thought it was fucking good, now they're the new writers.
And this is what we get.
Bad Playstation games instead of books.

 It's a fucking tragedy....but, I'll get into this more later, because there's a book coming up that exemplifies this bullshit...

But...y'know, it's just DC & Marvel that are on the skids, there are still great books coming out of the indies.
Same as with movies.

And...even the Big Two can still cough out a fun book every now and then....

Marvel Zombies.

Pasted from here...

The zombie wave was in full crest in these latter years of the 00's.
They even literally infected the superhero books.
Hmm...this one was okay...but I actually like the spinoff stuff better..more on that later...

And later on, same post, pertaining to "Marvel Zombies: Dead Days"...

This one is a prequel (sorta) to the original "Marvel Zombies".
And, again, I think it's better.
Okay, the graphic novel contains the standalone issue, also titled "Dead Days", which is a total prequel of the start of the zombie plague in a parrallel duplicate of the Marvel Universe, that coincides with "Marvel Zombies vs. The Army Of Darkness".
Then, there's the 3 issue miniseries of "Ultimate Fantastic Four", which happens just before the original MZ, and actually started the whole thing off, then, a second 3 issues of UFF that coincides with the conclusion of MZ, and then 4 issues of the regular "Fantastic Four", where they dimensionally bump into the Galactus Zombies from the end of MZ.
All of 'em have better art and writing IMHO, than MZ, they reference the events of MZ thoroughly enough, you don't miss anything by not reading MZ, so, you can easily substitute this book for it.
And..."Marvel Zombies 2", is total ass, so skip that one entirely.
Then, complete the trilogy with "Marvel Zombies Return".

Yep, I stand by that.
Anyway, the plot, alternate Marvel universe, the superheroes get infected by a zombie plague, become the zombie plague, and the supers devour all of the normals, then fight each other over the last scraps of meat on Earth.
Wackiness ensues.

Also, the zombie infection seems to follow the rules of  "Night Of The Living Dead",  "28 Days Later", and "Return Of The Living Dead", rolled into one.
Infection by bite, almost instant manifestation of symptoms, and then, the O'Bannon rules kick in, and the zombie is completely indestructible, and maintains the person's personality, and memories,...BUT they eat you all up Romero style.


So, once this was its own phenomenon, then it was time for...

Marvel Zombies vs Army Of Darkness

Pasted from here...

A prequel to "Marvel vs. Zombies", with Ash from the "Evil Dead", trilogy bumbling into the MZ universe, and accidentally causing the zombie plague.
Funny stuff, better art than the main MZ books.
Like I said further up, the spinoff stuff like this is actually better than the main series.
But, more on that further down.
Chronologically, for Ash, this would be...after "Army Of Darkness", and before "Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash".
....and from here....

This, and FvJvA were the best of the Ash comics, the rest ranged from mediocre fanfic, to rushed scribblings.
You can live without 'em.
Trust me.

Well, while we're on extra-dimensional zombie plagues, let us not forget...


Pasted from here...

Zombies vs. Transformers, Star Trek, GI Joe, & Ghostbusters.
Ehhh, pretty good.
And can be shoehorned into continuity with "Marvel Zombies", if you like.
Can't say much more without spoiling stuff.
Read it for the individual fights though, the ending of the bookend story is an anti-climax.
It's settled on me more now, and I can say it was a fucking disappointment.
I could have done a better job at 12 years old with my toys.

For the most part, they just crammed this crossover concept into a typical regular issue of each series, and didn't really exploit the crossover potential.

The Ghostbusters issues utilized the premise the best.
The way they break down the pseudo-science, the personalities of the characters, the sense of fun, it was all there.

Second best, was Star Trek.
McCoy fucking CURES zombie-ism!
For them, it's just another wacky planet, and they move along to the next show.

Transformers was fucking awful.
They make heavy reference to continuity in their existing arcs, and expect you to know what the fuck was going on.
Inept twats.
That Stan Lee rule, man, every issue is someone's first issue.
Learn it, live by it.
Anyway, took me an hour of Wiki back-reading to get all the dumb references to their dumb arcs, and their dumb arcs fucking SUCK.

Kup caused a genocide, and he takes robot drugs to forget it?

Galvatron is overlord of some alternate dark universe, and only he can pass between this realm and ours?

What the fuck is this shit?
Fuck you.
Seriously, fuck you up the ass with a red rubber dick, Transformers comic writers.

G.I. Joe....the stories were actually engrossing, but....they were the absolute worst at utilizing the premise.
...and the regular cast of characters.
No Duke, no Snake Eyes, no Lady Jane, no Scarlett, no Cobra Commander, no Doctor Mindbender, no Destro...
Baroness is the star, and don't get me wrong, she's great in this....
But....there's no fucking zombies.
The point is the fucking zombies.
So...they somehow bullshit that the infection crosses over into machines, and becomes a computer virus, and possesses B.A.T.Ts, and that's the "zombies".

This could have been any normal fucking G.I. Joe issue.
I get the gist that the writer was like "fuck you, I wanna do this submarine thing with Baroness this month, cram your zombies!".

Well, fuck you too, buddy.
Arrogant fuckin' cock-knockers in comics today.

But the worst of all, was the bookend story.
Utter tripe, the second half doesn't utilize any elements from the crossover stories, even though it promises in the first half it will, and then...the way it ends...the shit may as well have never happened.
There's no time-erase, don't worry, but...there's no remaining impact, either...
Course, the characters just plain suck, and are written shitty anyway.
Bunch of nobodies I couldn't give a fuck about.
Moody Hot Topic vampires with potty mouths, and no wit.
More Beavis & Butt-Head writing.

So, overall, total waste of time.

The Ghostbusters ones were fun, but, I'd just as soon watch the movies again.

All right, back to Ash, and Dracula with....

Army Of Darkness: Ash vs The Classic Monsters

I still stand by what I said further up about these Ash comics being fan-ficcy scribblings, but...this one had its moments.

Ash meets Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, some werewolves, and a mummy.

Ash wins (natch), Frankenstein's Monster turns out to be good (course we always knew that) and helps out, and in the waning moments, FM finally names himself.

Heh, I dig that, let's make it canon.

Does Ash count as a superhero?
Well...he went toe to toe with zombie Marvels...and Punisher is just a guy with weapons too....
Yeah, let's go with it.

And on that track...

Army of Darkness vs Re-Animator

The good-

It makes reference to everything from the 3 Re-Animator films.

It weaves together the whole Lovecraft-verse, having Lovecraft himself pop up in a nether-world, and explain that Ash's Necronomicon is one of many copies of the original Lovecraft Necronomicon, so that finally gets connected, and, in yet another nether-world,... Cthulhu!!!

The bad-

Everything fucking else.

But...you got Ash vs Drac, and Cthulhu, and zombies, so, that puts him in a tie with Batman and Superman, anyway.

And then....Ash fought Freddy and Jason a couple times.

The End.

Phew, that's heroes vs. undead, up next, heroes vs sci-fi robots/monsters.


hyla2 said...

Off to a bloody good start (heh-heh . . . ehhh, like I'm the Crypt Keeper, get it? Ehhh . . .)

Man. These long posts are hard to comment for, tryin' to keep it all in your head, what to speak on . . .

I only knew about maybe half of this stuff! Case in point: 'Batman & Superman -vs- Vampires & Werewolves'. If I wasn't lookin' right at the cover pic I'd've thought you was shittin' me. HEAP big shittin'. Talk about your fan-fic wank-cept. That's the kind of goof you cook up in the wee hours of an all nighter with your junior high school buds that sends you into a side-cramped giggle spiral until Dad comes to the head of the stairs and tells you to knock it off and go to bed ferchrissakes. Who the hell was the editor who had that gem pitched at him and failed to go (after studiously, laboriously polishing his glasses), "Get the hell out of my office. Forever".

Wish I'd thought of it, though.

Diacanu said...


Ugh, no matter how hard I try to stay current, I get trumped.

Early next year (which is only a couple months away) Infestation 2 rolls out.

This time, Lovecraft demons vs Transformers, GI Joe, Ninja Turtles, Dungeons & Dragons, 30 Days Of Night, and Danger Girl.

Well, I hope they learned from the first one, and iron out the suck.

Diacanu said...

Well, Danger Girl has met Ash, so there's the direct Marvel Zombies link now.

Yeah...gonna have to do a threequel to this topic in a few months...

hyla2 said...

Ohhh. Stop it. Just . . . just stop.

Dungeons & Dragons? DANGER GIRL (that thing's still around?)? 30 Days of . . .

Homina. And so, I'm guessing, like the prior 'Infestation', this will only be a thematic crossover, right? Because all of those franchises mulched into one (h-hem) plotline makes me woozy.

Diacanu said...

Yeah, thematic, guess Cthulhu can poke his tentacles into different dimensions....

hyla2 said...

Well, that is kind of his bag.

But enough about monster genitals.



Diacanu said...

*comedy trumpet* wa-waahh!

hyla2 said...

Thank you, thank you!

And what's the deal with 'Fear Itself', anyway? What, is Marvel trying to be all World Of Warcraft?

Heh . . . More like 'World of BORE-craft'!


Diacanu said...

My universal punchline for every awful arc Marvel shits out, is *mocking fake optimism* "....from the house of ideas!!".

Too inside? I don't care.
*Evil smirk*

hyla2 said...

Only far enough 'inside' the bullpen to get buried alive in a drift of EXCELSIOR, true believer!

(oh, god, what's wrong with me . . .)

Diacanu said...

I picture future archaeologists trying to reconstruct our culture, unearthing Google's servers, and finding this thread...and I laugh even harder.

hyla2 said...

Indeed. Suck my dick, future! Suck my dick through a wormhole!

( . . . what IS wrong with me . . . !?)

hyla2 said...

But only if you get Frau Bleucher from Farscape to do it.

. . .

I'm so gonna die if my wife ever reads these . . .

Diacanu said...

Hey, *Crosses arms* don't you have SGS to draw?

*Plays the whip song*

hyla2 said...

I'm multi-tasking!

Got a lapboard fulla page roughs I'm shaping up and the laptop on a tv tray.

Zero conflict of interest.

Diacanu said...

Yeah...we'll see...if Rumba has a cape, and a chainsaw hand, and is fending off tendrils, I'll have to instruct Mizmstie to keep you in a sensory deprivation barrel come next comic day.

hyla2 said...

Could be interesting. Rumba could definitely keep up with Ash in a snotty snark-fest . . .

Oh, right. You haven't seen any of that. THAT part hasn't come out yet, huh?


hyla2 said...

The part where she's snotty to people, I mean. Not the part where she meets Ash.

Because that doesn't happen.

(sigh . . . )

Diacanu said...

I had sorta figured that out, yes.

hyla2 said...


NOW who's being snotty? ;P

Diacanu said...

It was flat affect-less deadpan, I assure you.

Snot, I accompany with various smileys.

And snot.

hyla2 said...

Sorry. Got into kind of a shtick there.

Believe me, no one is more impatient for Rumba to get talking than me. That's when she really shines--seriously, I had no idea she was such a trash-talk zinger queen until it happened right in front of me on the screen!

. . .

Shouldn't we be talking about YOUR blog-stuff on here, though? Kinda feel like I'm hijackin'.

Diacanu said...

Yeah, I could, but you insisted I not spoiler you.
'Specially on these horror crossover ones.

Second one comes tonight, BTW.

My brain has recuperated enough to start on it now, but...I like to have supper in my gut as a calorie cushion.

Oh, I can tell you, I decided after horror, comes inter-company crossovers.

The six-degrees web pulls pretty tight with those suckers.

hyla2 said...

That I did. Well, the thoughtfulness is appreciated.

Can't wait for the next one! And, yes, a full fuel tank is always a good idea.

I often forget breakfast when I've got my nose in pagework. Always regrettable.

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