Giant-Size Dracula #2
Issue(s): Giant-Size Dracula #2
This issue (and the next one) are by Chris Claremont and Don Heck, and Claremont uses the opportunity to introduce a minor character, Kate Fraser, that he'll bring with him to a few different books. She is working with Inspector Chelm, the British policeman that has worked with the main vampire hunter characters in Tomb of Dracula and is fully on board with the idea that Dracula exists and is really a vampire. Kate herself is pretty special. She's a psychometric, with the ability to touch an object and experience its history. Chelm tells her that it's a "science, not witchcraft" but Kate is kind of down on her abilities, seemingly due to having faced anti-mutant sentiments.
The two police officers are investigating a series of murders that are thought to be the work of a vampire (and the opening teases the idea that it's Dracula while also offering up an unusual interpretation of Dick and Jane's See Spot Run).
But as Kate soon learns, the people performing the murders are really a group of cultists who are trying to revive Elder Gods called the Triad.
The fact that the police suspect Dracula winds up bringing him to the area as well. He wants to quell suspicions that he's actually still alive.
When he arrives in town, he meets Kate. Initially thinking she'll make a nice meal, he pulls back when he realizes how much she reminds him of his dead wife.
The leader of the Triad cult is Y'Garon, who claims to be an Elder God himself.
His goal is to revive his two brothers via the sacrifices of all the women that have been killed in the area.
Y'Garon manages to capture Dracula. But Dracula goes into a berserker frenzy and escapes, thinking that he is fighting Turac, the Turk that killed his wife Maria, and he manages to defeat Y'Garon and prevent the resurrection of the Triad.
When it's over, he causes Kate to forget the encounter.
Kate may have forgotten, but Inspector Chelm was also aware that Dracula was in the area...
...so he may have subsequently filled Kate in on what she's been commanded to forget.
Note also the use of silver cross-inscribed bullets by Chelm. I originally thought that was kind of cheesy and that if it's possible to kill Dracula that way his menace is significantly decreased. Marv Wolfman will actually pick up on the use of those bullets in the main series, but we'll see that they turn out to not make too much of a difference.
Chris Claremont's 1970s writing is of mixed quality, but the writing here (and i'm talking about the scripting moreso than the plot) is a pleasure compared to many of the surrounding books. However, he uses his famous "no quarter" pet phrase twice in this same issue.
It's possible that the second time is meant as a deliberate parallel to the first (which is part of a psychometric dream showing Kate Y'garon's history), but i don't think that's the case, and if it is Don Heck certainly didn't get the memo and make the panels line up in any recognizable way. Heck's art, never a favorite of mine, is tolerable here. It's better looking in my black & white Essentials, which avoids the garish colors that are present in the color scan i'm using here.
Y'Garon apparently also appears in Chris Claremont's Marada the She-Wolf story and it seems (not surprisingly, since Claremont is involved) that by "Elder God" Y'Garon really means that he's a N'Garai. And as Michael notes, the Sa'arpool that Y'Garon tries to open to bring in his N'Garai brethren is the first of three that will appear in various Chris Claremont comics.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Essentials trades drop this between Tomb of Dracula #25-26. This also takes place before Kate Fraser's appearance in Marvel Preview #3.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Tomb of Dracula vol. 2
We see the Saarpools again in Marvel Team Up 79 and Doctor Strange 45.
Posted by: Michael | January 29, 2015 8:21 PM
Historical Significance: First mutant ever written by Claremont. Kate refers to herself as one at least once, and although you could argue that she's just being self-deprecating, there's no other explanation given for her mind powers.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 30, 2015 12:04 PM
Claremont seems to have not read Deacula's origin too closely--he was turned into a vampire by Lianda the Gypsy, not by Turac.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 30, 2015 4:54 PM
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