Characters Appearing: Anton Lupeski, Blade, Blade Doppelganger, Deacon Frost, Domini, Dracula, Frank Drake, Golden Angel, Hannibal King, Harold H. Harold, Quincy Harker, Rachel Van Helsing, Saint (dog), Silver Surfer
Tomb of Dracula #50-51
Issue(s): Tomb of Dracula #50, Tomb of Dracula #51
I mention this in part to explain why i tracked down every appearance of, say, the Scarecrow/Straw Man and the Golem while taking much longer to complete the critically acclaimed Tomb of Dracula series. But also because reading these issues specifically is what made me realize that Wolfman's storytelling seems to have approached Claremontian levels of subplotting (or is it the other way around?) that i suspected would make things more interesting if i stop picking up random issues and just plow through the entire series. And i have subsequently done that and definitely found it rewarding.
In any event, the Silver Surfer is the most super-heroey character to appear in Tomb of Dracula, although the same purity that makes him a foil for Mephisto can be used here, too.
The main story involves Anton Lupeski, the Satanist that arranged Dracula's marriage with Domini, agreeing with a group of unnamed additional cultists that now that Domini has been impregnated, there is no further need for Dracula. So they perform a ritual to summon the Surfer and implant in his head the idea that Dracula is an evil that must be abolished.
Despite this manipulation, the Surfer is skeptical, since he himself has been branded as evil. But, surprisingly, self-interest seems to win out; his thought is that if he defeats Dracula mankind will see him as a hero and no longer hound him.
However, when he arrives at Dracula's church, symbolically phasing through the picture of Jesus that the Satanists have mockingly left there...
...he accidentally nearly hits the pregnant Domini, causing him to again doubt himself. There are a few more reversals like this.
Additionally, the Surfer is at a reduced power level during the fight. Whether it is because Dracula's "consummate evil eats away at what I am", as he at one point speculates, or because he's under control of the Satanist cult (which seems to really be the case), it ensures that the Surfer doesn't just annihilate Dracula on the spot, which you'd imagine he'd otherwise be able to do no problem.
This allows him to be foiled by strong winds, attacked by rats, etc..
I thought the Surfer's characteristic hyperbole was funny, here. Animals are the "one species" that hunt only for food? What secrets does the Surfer know about Earth's predatory plant population? They do it out of spite?
Eventually Domini convinces the Surfer that she has a "better, more fitting solution" for Dracula, and so the Surfer departs.
In subplots, Hannibal King continues the fight with the vampiric Blade who we saw merged with the real one last issue.
And Rachel Van Helsing shows up to rescue Frank Drake and Harold H. Harold from Lupeski's cult.
Dracula shows up after the fight with the Surfer, but Rachel is able to wound Dracula (perhaps more than she realizes, or she might have stayed to finish the job)...
...and Dracula allows her to escape with her friends.
Frank Drake and Rachel have a rather melodramatic reconciliation.
I get that Harold H. Harold is meant to be a comedic character, but Colan takes it a bit far in his depiction.
Prior to getting attacked by the Surfer, Dracula was collecting tributes from his human followers, and that continues in issue #51 with an event arranged by Lupeski, wherein the vampire lord has to perform parlor tricks to wow the guests.
Dracula's fundraiser is interrupted when the fake (?) Blade, in pursuit of Hannibal, comes crashing in. "Blade" and Dracula get into a fight instead.
Deacon Frost turns out to be among Dracula's guests.
Frost is Hannibal's sire as well as the killer of Blade's mother, and Hannibal tries to pursue him but he gets away.
Dracula manages to kill the Blade doppelganger.
Unlike the guests, Lupeski knows that Dracula is not really Satan. He tries to convince Domini to join him in the scheme to oust Dracula, and while she refuses, she doesn't turn him in, either.
Also at Dracula's fundraiser is a mysterious figure that Dracula thinks he recognizes. "He's one I've seen before -- in other times... in other countries... Like a harbinger of doom -- some unearthly warning sign!"
A lot going on, and as i mention above, a lot more satisfying when you have context for all the various subplots. In any event, an interesting encounter with the Silver Surfer and a good fight with the fake Blade, and nice Colan/Palmer art.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Wolfman stated later that he did write ToD as a novel(and structured as such) rather than a typical comic book series.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 25, 2013 5:22 PM
I can't believe a herald of Galactus isn't powerful enough to instantly incinerate Dracula where he stands. No amount of being underpowered can make that believable in my eyes. The Surfer is too misused as a foe to Dracula.
Posted by: Bill | November 14, 2016 11:44 PM
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