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BATMAN: CRIMSON MIST

Story: Doug Moench, Artwork: Kelley Jones

The ultra-violent conclusion to the vampiric trilogy of elseworlds. Don't read it unless you've read the first two books in the trilogy (Red Rain and Bloodstorm). You'll be able to understand Crimson Mist without having read them, but I doubt you'll fully appreciate it.

The prose is gothic, over-blown, melodramatic and quite, quite brilliant. This is a vampire story. A tale of blood-lust, ancient evil, darkness and tragedy. The prose fits the themes. A premise cliched, maybe, but always effective if treated right, like here. Batman fits the vampiric themes hand in glove. Additionally, there's a nineteenth century feel to the writing that only serves to accentuate this. It's melodramatic, as I've already mentioned, but I like melodrama. It works.

I've always liked Kelley Jones' art. One thing that struck me was that everyone in the book looked grotesque. Which is how it should be. This is a horror story, after all. Even the 'good guys' have done wrong and are tainted by the memories of their actions and the evil enveloping Gotham. The only minor problem I had was with Poison Ivy, who should look beautiful, even in a book such as this, and she looked as ugly as everyone else did.

The inking and colouring is excellent, and the quality of the paper offers a great presentation. There are shadows where there need to be shadows and the light, such as it is, glows.