Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Delayed Reaction: Apocalypse/Dracula #1

X-Men: Apocalypse Vs. Dracula #1(Marvel Comics), by Frank Tieri, Clayton Henry and Mark Morales

Why’d I Wait?: You mean, aside from the fact that the book is called X-Men: Apocalypse/Dracula? And the fact that it’s apparently about X-Men villain and mutant menace Apocalypse fighting Dracula?

Why Now?: It’s presence in a 50-cent box. A lot of comics one passes over for $2.99 suddenly seem a lot more readable when they’re only 50 cents.

Well?: I admit the bizarre core concept and the goofy-ass title, though kinda stupid-sounding, are definitely in the so-stupid-it’s-kind-of-cool category, and it certainly delivers on the big, dumb fun tip. Writer Frank Tieri’s campy story hopscotches through time—the two leads being more-or-less immortal—from the 15th Century to the 21st to the 19th.We see Vlad Tempes meeting En Sabah Nur on the battlefield and, later, Dracula stalking Nur’s descendents in London.

Tieri and penciller Clayton Henry borrow heavily from the film adaptation of From Hell and Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula for details and visuals, and there is a crazy three panel sequence that may constitute the craziest fucking thing I’ve seen in a Marvel comic since Erik Larsen’s Defenders was cancelled (It involves a man’s mouth growing large enough to bite off another man’s head).

While there’s relatively little to be admired in the work, it’s not without it’s merits. Dracula was once one of Marvel’s greatest villains and most compelling characters—even if his long-running Tomb of Dracula series was always off in a relatively lonely corner of the Marvel Universe—so it’s nice to see him interacting with a more mainstream character like Apocalypse here.

And the audacious weirdness of the pairing deserves some props: On the crazy-ass cross-over scale, this one falls somewhere between Red Sonja/Claw and The Punisher Meets Archie.

Would I travel back in time to buy the first issue off the rack?: Seems like sort of a waste of a time machine, doesn’t it?

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