Tomb of Dracula #26-28
Issue(s): Tomb of Dracula #26, Tomb of Dracula #27, Tomb of Dracula #28
He is killed in the initial attack by the mysterious organization, and one of the pieces winds up in the hands of his son, David. David is befriended by Shiela Whittier, who is secretly under the thrall of Dracula (we previously saw Shiela as the rightful owner of the mansion that Dracula has moved into).
With his father dead, David goes to his grandmother, a literal witch, for info on the Chimera. And it apparently has an origin that runs through Kull the Conqueror.
Dracula, meanwhile, investigates the other organization's lair (and note that traps apparently make him "weary"), and we see that it's run by computer and a faceless voice.
We don't see who is behind the organization in this issue but it will turn out to be Dr. Sun, the disembodied vampire brain.
The organization does lead Dracula into a trap, catching him in a room that they pour holy water into.
He escapes by transforming into mist, but is still weakened by the experience.
Dracula is also experiencing weakness not related to his brush with holy water, but that's setting things up for future issues.
Dracula later catches up with David and Shiela and uses the tail of the Chimera to raise a horde of vampires to search for the remaining pieces.
David responds by trying to repel Dracula with a Star of David. Of interest (especially if you're familiar with the more famous scene of Kitty Pryde repelling Dracula with the Star after failing to do so with the cross because she didn't believe in it) is the fact that while the symbol does work, Dracula says it's less effective than the cross because it's not the symbol that he used to worship.
The group is attacked by the other organization before Dracula can kill David. The three are taken prisoner, and tormented with visions: David with the idea that there is no God, Shiela with the fact that she's in love with Dracula, and Dracula with his past enemies, including Quincy Harker's crew, Blade, and Lilith.
But Dracula manages to break free and makes it into the room where the mysterious voice is coming from, only to find it empty of anything but grunt soldiers and the Chimera statue.
He takes the statue, but before he can use it to conquer the world, Shiela grabs it from him and smashes it. Despite the fact that David was tempted by the statue too, she leaves with him, defying Dracula's orders.
It's surprising to see Dracula let Shiela go, but more on that next issue.
The book continues to keep subplots going for the vampire hunter cast, who are still under the impression that Dracula is dead. We learn why Taj has been avoiding his wife; it seems that they have a "child" that is actually a vampire (and note that despite the fact that Taj and his wife are Muslim, they've surrounded the child with crosses).
Meanwhile, Frank Drake continues to search for a purpose in life now that he's not a vampire hunter. He's contacted by a Chastity Jones, who is working for a former friend of Frank's named Danny Summers. We saw Danny back in issue #1 as part of a montage of friends of Frank that wouldn't help him with his money troubles. Danny is now offering him a job in Brazil. Frank isn't sure if he wants to take it, but he's dumb as a bag of rocks and easy for Chastity to convince.
Rachel Van Helsing sits back at home with Quincy Harker...
...who advises her to let Frank go and see if he comes back.
In isolation this is a fun adventure story. Always interesting when a villain like Dracula is made to be the protagonist, and Wolfman sets up that scenario without sacrificing Dracula's villainous nature. There's still some clunk in the dialogue and the Chimera macguffin is a bit convenient in being massively powerful and yet so easy to destroy (if it had actually appeared in issues of Kull i might have been more lenient about that; it doesn't, but its creator C'Thunda will be mentioned again in a future Marv Wolfman Daredevil issue). But overall it's a good story. What makes it even better, though is that it's enhanced by the fact that Wolfman is laying down clues and developments for bigger plots that are coming up. The way things all come together in future issues is masterfully done and you can go through these issues (not just these three, but pretty much every issue since Dracula's "death" in issue #21) and see how various seemingly unrelated things are actually the beginnings of a larger set up. More on that when we get there, but i wanted to make the observation now.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Since Dr. Sun is behind the organization that was competing with Dracula for the Chimera statue, and his voice is heard in this arc, i've listed him as a Character Appearing.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Tomb of Dracula vol. 2
Inbound References (3): showAdri Nital, Chastity Jones, Danny Summers, David Eshcol, Doctor Sun, Dracula, Frank Drake, Jyota Nital, Quincy Harker, Rachel Van Helsing, Shiela Whittier, Taj Nital
Frank saying he's been letting others make up his mind for him and then letting Chastity make up his mind for him is kind of funny.
Posted by: Michael | January 29, 2015 8:27 PM
IIRC, the trouble up ahead for him is not even Dracula-related.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | January 30, 2015 7:49 AM
Not directly, but we'll find that he is secretly behind it.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 30, 2015 9:48 AM
Aren't Taj and his wife both Hindu?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 30, 2015 5:10 PM
Taj's wife and others in the area (e.g. a friend in issue #26 that convinces Taj to go back to his wife) all say "By Allah" and "Thank Allah" and the like, so i assume they are Muslim.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 30, 2015 11:37 PM
If they are indeed Muslims, then either Wolfman or Colan made a big mistake as Taj's wife has what appears to be the Hindu dot on her forehead.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 31, 2015 10:51 AM
Between the bindi, the references to Allah, and the crosses, maybe they are hedging their bets. Best to be safe in a region with so many vampire attacks.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 31, 2015 11:42 AM
Most likely, neither Wolfman or Colan understood little about the religions involved or India. Since many Americans confuse Sikhs with Muslims, it's entirely possible neither understood that a forehead dot identified the person as Hindu instead of Muslim.
Posted by: Chris | January 31, 2015 12:59 PM
Following the premise established some years later in UNCANNY X-MEN #159 when the team took on Dracula, the effectiveness of a religious icon is determined by the strength of the wielder's faith. Kitty Pride attempted to use a cross against Dracula, but that turned out to be a fruitless effort since Kitty is Jewish. However, when Dracula in turn grabbed Kitty by the throat, he unwittingly touched the silver Star of David on her necklace, his hand burned (given vampires' aversion to silver, this proved to be a "double whammy"). So it would have made more sense for the Nitals to have crescent moons (if Muslim) or aums (if Hindu) surrounding their son. Of course, as Chris noted, one can chalk it up to ignorance of Indian culture, as well as the cross or crucifix being seen as the "tried and true" method (Just like in the movies, right?).
Posted by: Brian Coffey | October 13, 2017 11:57 PM
I'm far from the first to note it, but Islam presents special problems for the "religious symbols repel vampires" idea; it's an iconoclastic faith where using images to represent the divine is a heresy.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 14, 2017 1:53 PM
Fair point, Omar. I must confess that despite growing up in a family best described as "deep water Southern Baptists", I've tended to avoid and cast a wary eye upon religion as a whole. On a less serious note, I had another thought on the topic of iconography as a weapon against vampires. Say there's a vampire hunter who is a resolute, militant, dyed-in-the-wool atheist. In addition to using silver, garlic, etc., could he use one of those "Darwin" or "Science" fish you see on car bumpers to ward them off?:-)
Posted by: Brian Coffey | October 14, 2017 5:49 PM
The panel above where Dracula refers to "the crucifix I once prayed to" seems to indicate that his weakness to icons could be a psychological limitation on his own part. An alternative explanation could be that God exists in the Marvel universe, or perhaps certain powerful "good" entities like the Vishanti accept icons and other gestures of faith in His name and grant protection accordingly.
Posted by: Andrew | October 14, 2017 9:04 PM
Comments are now closed.
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