All Associated Cover/Issue Images
- John Constantine
- You’re different, Bennett. Too powerful for any one guy. I’ll be keeping an eye on you. Cross the line like I know you will, and I’ve got a wee sun with your name on it.
Synopsis "Rise of the Vampires Finale: Cruel to be Kind" (20-pages)
Previous in Rise of the Vampires: Tig Rafelson, Andrew Bennett’s teen vampire slayer sidekick, killed him in the belief that his death would destroy the vampire army assembled by Mary, Andrew’s ex-lover. However, Bennett’s death awakened Cain, a powerful primordial vampire. Cain siphoned all the available magic into the vampire army and declared his intention to destroy humanity. Madame Xanadu petitioned a higher power to divert the magic away from Cain into somebody more worthy while John Constantine and Deadman journeyed into the afterlife to find Bennett’s soul. Cain’s forces are about to kill Bennett’s allies when Andrew Bennett is suddenly reincarnated.
Cain is shocked to see Andrew Bennett’s resurrection and orders his vampires to destroy Bennett. However, Bennett turns them all to dust with a mere wave of his hand. Mary, Professor Troughton, and Constantine are surprised, but Xanadu understands that this is what she petitioned for. Bennett has been resurrected as Cain’s equal and opposite, somebody working by an entirely new rulebook. He demonstrates this by resurrecting the vampire army he had just turned to dust. They are now free of Cain’s domination.
Only Mary is delighted by this revelation. She and Andrew embrace after he describes himself as a vampire patriot. Their vampires then hold the ranting Cain down while Andrew beheads him. Xanadu’s team are wary of this new development and even Xanadu is not quite ready for how things are playing out. They fear that they’ve just created another enemy when Mary orders the vampires to take Gotham. However, Bennett countermands that order and uses his powers to wipe away the memory and records of their attack on Gotham City, erasing the public knowledge of real vampires.
Professor Troughton still believes that Andrew is up to something, but he is told “It’s too late, John. I’ve seen what happens if I’m not the one in charge. This is my destiny.” John Constantine is not so easily convinced and promises to kill Bennett should he cross the line. Bennett retorts that there are darker evils out there and that Constantine will have his assistance if asked. Bennett and Mary then leave peacefully with their vampire followers. Tig and Troughton are left to inform the Van Helsings of the new status quo. Everybody is so engrossed in their own departures that they fail to notice Cain reform himself.
The conclusion to “Rise of the Vampires” ends surprisingly with a victory for the vampires and the ascension of Andrew Bennett to the status of a “vampire version of Che Guevara” (as Deadman says). This is played out as a prolonged conversation interspersed with demonstrations of Bennett’s new powers. However, it never feels bogged down as Fialkov and Sorrentino make excellent use of the room available to them. There are seven double-page layouts in this issue. They are well used to create a sense of scope and not just to provide big single panel snap shot slashes.
Andrew Bennett promise to aid John Constantine’s group so its clear that their inclusion in this crossover is designed to create that exact outcome. He should be an interesting addition, but I wonder how unbalancing he will be. The powers he’s demonstrated are extreme even by the capabilities of Zatanna and co. how that’ll play out isn’t clear. I still think that Mary would have been the more interesting team-member (is it me or does anybody else get the Evil Willow vibe off of her character?).
Before this crossover I, Vampire wasn’t one of the books that I was particularly focused upon. It was interesting, but not a must read. I think the pivot point shown here may changed that. I’ve been very impressed with the polish and finish that has been given to the story. So I think this will be a series that I will be following more closely in the future.
Surveying the Internets
Joshua Yehl hales the conclusion of this arc:
To top it off, Sorrentino delivers one of the most memorable comic book kisses I have ever seen: it is disturbing, sexy, and creepy all at the same time.
Josh (Josh on Comics) also liked the conclusion:
Despite its short length RotV managed to bring with it a palpable sense of impact, and a highly unexpected change of direction for the series. Although I was hesitant about picking up Justice League: Dark in order to understand the storyline it managed to impress me
Greg McElhatton (CBR) likes the way Bennett’s reincarnation pivots the story:
Fialkov bringing Bennett back here is fun in part because he still manages to subvert expectations. Bennett’s new personality and purpose is different from what we’d had two months ago and this feels like a strong turning point for “I, Vampire” as well as the DC Universe.
Despite the positive verdicts from the vampire fans, Minhquan Nquyen (WCCR) notes the how useless JLD was in this crossover…
Aside from this magical transfusion, the JLD do absolutely nothing to make themselves useful in this vampire uprising, leading you to wonder why Fialkov felt the need to include them in his story anyway. Perhaps it was editorial mandate, or perhaps this is all just groundwork for further interactions with DC’s so-called premiere team of mystics. [...] But that doesn’t dismiss the fact that the JLD are mostly dead weight in this arc.
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Page 1. Cain refers to Bennett as the “Demon’s Lock”, now in the DCU a reference to the Demon normally mean Etrigan, the infernal alter ego of Jason Blood. Blood/Etrigan are part of the Demon Knights so it seems logical that we’ll see more of them in the future.
Page 4-5. This is something I find interesting. Cain says “What did they do to you in the afterlife?!”. Last issue we saw a disembodied voice talk to Bennett, tell him about Cain’s origin, and outline his duties in this affair. However, the we don’t really know whose voice it was or who the “they” are that Cain refers to. In Justice League Dark we say Madame Xanadu consult a higher being called the Crystal One – is this who they are referring to. It could be he who rebuilt Bennett, but I’m not so sure that he was the voice who spoke to Bennett in Limbo. There is a greater part of this backstory that is still missing.
Page 12. Bennett’s wings are odd, three sets – six in total. In the Bible it was the burning ones, the seraphim, who had six wings. These beings were the highest order of the angels and the attendants of gods throne. Whether parallel is deliberate or merely artistic isn’t clear.