Characters Appearing: Bethany Flynn, Bible John, Blade, Bloodstorm, Julia Suarez, Night Terror, Razor Steppin, Tara Algen
Issue(s): Blade #1, Blade #2, Blade #3
The first eight issues of the series are written by British writer Ian Edginton, who seems to have mostly done licensed work (Terminator and Aliens) for Dark Horse prior to this. The story picks up on elements from the end of Nightstalkers, both in general terms - Blade setting up a new life for himself now that his fellow Nightstalkers are dead - and in terms of the villains. The series begins with a bang by promising the return of Dracula, but that is kind of false advertising. The Nightstalkers series was also teasing a return of Dracula; by the final story it turned out to be a clone of Dracula created by Hydra. The clone didn't actually look like or behave anything like Dracula. But... well, more on that below
In terms of supporting cast, we start with Blade's new landlady, Julia.
And there is also Bible John, who bears a superficial resemblance to Whistler from the movies.
Bible John is being held in a mental institution, but he's been having visions of Blade, so he escapes and seeks Blade out.
The initial villain in the series is Aaron Thorne, the leader of Varnae's high tech secret clan, the Bad Seed (don't tell Nick Cave).
Thorne's "necrotech" predicts the return of Dracula, who would be a rival to Varnae. Varnae is currently dead thanks to the end of the Nightstalkers series, but the Bad Seed are "engineering" his resurrection. In addition to that, they are producing a drug called Ace which will cause users to becomes thralls to Varnae, allowing him to amass an army to defeat Dracula.
The device given to Blade by Bible John leads him to the Ace factory. Blade busts in and fights Thorne.
Blade cuts Throne's throat and the factory is destroyed during the fight, but Thorne survives.
Meanwhile, a reporter named Tara Algren is investigating the death of the Nightstalkers...
...but she's found and killed by Dracula.
Now, considering the location of Dracula's resurrection, this is pretty clearly the clone, Bloodstorm.
But before we get back to him, here's Thorne after he's "recovered" from the injury given to him by Blade. I've often thought that having an extra arm might be useful, but not like that, please.
Meanwhile, Blade is looking a lot more stable than he has since, well, ever.
Tara Algren's partner and girlfriend Bethany Flynn gets a message from Tara and leaves to meet her at a nightclub (while fending off advances from her creepy editor).
She meets Tara and is introduced to Dracula.
Blade is contacted by Bible John again. John tells Blade about his vision of Dracula's resurrection.
Blade also goes to the club, which turns out is entirely populated by vampire thralls.
That's my favorite panel in these issues.
Thralls aren't full vampires; they're just tainted by vampire blood. So Blade (with Bible John) is able to hold them off.
But then Dracula reveals himself (he's now turned both reporters into vampires).
Dracula is aware that Blade's Tomb of Dracula companions are all dead.
He's able to handle Blade with relative ease. Blade tries to delay things by saying that he knows where Domini and Janus are (again, from the end of Nightstalkers).
But Dracula figures he'll turn him into a vampire and then make him give him the info. The problem with that - which Blade points out - is that the real Dracula should know that Blade is immune to vampire bites.
That's the closest we get to the story acknowledging that this isn't the real Dracula. But it's framed as something having gone wrong in the resurrection process. And it feels like a discrepancy that Dracula would know about the deaths of Quincy Harper and Rachel Van Helsing but not the fact about Blade.
Blade is helped by Thorne's assistant, Mr. Angel, who gives him a knife. The knife increases Blade's power.
Blade realizes that the knife would put him under Thorne's thrall, so he locates Thorne in the crowd and throws the knife at him. It doesn't kill him, but Dracula doesn't like Thorne meddling in his affairs, so they fight. Thorne reveals that he works for Varnae.
While they fight, Blade assesses Dracula, noting that Dracula isn't using his abilities to full extent.
Never thought i'd see Dracula in Liefeld Pose #1.
While the two vampires fight, Blade and Bible John talk tactics. They decide to activate the club's sprinkler system, citing the vampire weakness about "running water".
I always thought the "running water" thing meant that they couldn't cross rivers, not that they can't go out in the rain. But it does work (Dracula is able to endure the pain better than Thorne).
Dracula nonetheless withdraws.
Night Terror, Ghost Rider's entry in the 1993 new character annual debacle, also resurfaces in issue #3.
These issues are readable - something that couldn't always be said about Nightstalkers - but there isn't really a lot more to say than that.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I think Whistler first appeared in the animated series...but hey, at least he sort of has an origin in the comics...sort of...
Posted by: Ataru320 | November 20, 2017 5:55 PM
Yeah, Whistler was created for the Spider-Man 90s cartoon.
Posted by: Enchlore | November 20, 2017 6:57 PM
I too assumed that the water thing was for rivers. Dracula seems a lot less threatening if he has to carry around an umbrella.
Posted by: Mizark | November 20, 2017 7:33 PM
It's explained in the letters page of the final issue of the Blade series that it was intended that the new Dracula was Bloodstorm merged with Hannibal King and Frank Drake. (Presumably their memories were screwed up in the bargain.) Unfortunately, when Hannibal King returns in Blade: Crescent City Blues, he talks like Drake's been in the hospital all this time, which seems to rule out them being part of Dracula. But then who were the two shadows on the wall being merged?
Posted by: Michael | November 20, 2017 8:22 PM
I vaguely remember one of the Christopher Lee Dracula movies in which Dracula was defeated at the end by being submerged in a river, whereupon he dissolved. If I even remember correctly. It's been a long time since I saw it. A quick look at wiki suggests that it was probably in the Hammer horror film "Dracula: Prince of Darkness." The plot summary says he plunged through a hole in the ice over a moat, near a monastery. I seem to remember some dialog about "running water." Perhaps that's where Edginton got the idea, directly or indirectly, but who knows?
Posted by: Holt | November 21, 2017 6:37 AM
Posted by: Jay Montoya | November 21, 2017 6:05 PM
The vampires can't cross running water thing is from Stoker's Dracula novel. In Stoker's original Dracula novel, it's explained that Dracula "can only pass running water at the slack or the flood of the tide". Elsewhere, it's explained that Dracula can summon storms. There's no contradiction, since in context Stoker clearly meant Dracula can't cross BODIES of water but Edginton wrote it like Dracula can summon the rain but be driven off by a sprinkler.
Posted by: Michael | November 21, 2017 8:19 PM
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