Tomb of Dracula #41-43
Issue(s): Tomb of Dracula #41, Tomb of Dracula #42, Tomb of Dracula #43
Harold finds an answer - the blood or tears of a pure virgin - at the same time Aurora cries and wets the ashes.
Showing the folly of their decision, Dracula immediately flies out to kill an innocent woman after being resurrected.
Dracula runs into Blade while he's killing his victim, and Blade is as shocked as we are to learn that Dracula is allied with Quincy Harker and crew.
We also learn that the Legion that attacked Blade recently in Marvel Preview #3 was working with Dracula's knowledge but not necessarily directly on his orders. It's slightly different than we saw at the end of that issue, when Dracula's voice personally taunted Blade.
In any event, now that he's had his evil fun at his frenemies' expense, Dracula is ready to go after Dr. Sun. On his way there we get the explanation for why he's never tried to do what Dr. Sun is doing. It's a necessary explanation, since Sun is acting with power that he drained from Dracula, meaning Dracula could do something like hypnotize the US army if he wanted to. The answer is that Dracula prefers more subtle machinations.
Dracula was supposed to just be on a reconnaissance mission, but his goal is to kill Dr. Sun and then return and kill Quincy and his companions. But he's followed by Blade, who jumps in to help when Dracula goes up against Sun.
I mentioned in the last arc that the reason we can't just have the Avengers come in and help out against Dr. Sun (instead of resurrecting Dracula) is because Tomb of Dracula lives on the fringes of the Marvel universe and tries to avoid the larger superhero continuity for the sake of horror fans. But this issue has Spider-Man trying to get into Dr. Sun's house to help out.
Ok, it's not really Spider-Man. It's just a kid Trick Or Treating. The cover makes these kids out to be a major part of the plot, but as you can see from the scene above, they're just a cute joke and they never actually encounter Dracula.
The rest of the vampire hunters decide that it's time to head out to join the fight. Notice that Frank Drake's recent spinal infusion from Brother Voodoo has pushed him too far in the other direction; he's now a macho idiot who thinks that the woman who carried his ass through the first half of this series now can't take care of herself.
Blade, meanwhile, has fallen into a spiked pit...
...and when he gets out and has to fight Dr. Sun's brainwashed soldiers, he gets distracted by an appearance of the vampire that killed his mother.
Dracula and Dr. Sun's battle is a little weird since Sun is an inanimate brain. Lots of swirling mist and not that much action.
It ends with an explosion that knocks Sun out of his jar without killing him.
But he's still not defenseless.
And he's subsequently burnt in a fire, although the description obviously leaves open the possibility that something else is going on, and it's not the last we'll see of the character.
Rachel makes a surprising statement. She can't rest until... she learns who Sun is and what exactly he was up to.
I'd prefer she didn't rest until she killed the lord of the vampires that she recently brought back from the dead. She can read Dr. Sun's Marvel Handbook entry on her own time.
But for the moment, Blade, who has recovered from the blow to his head, has a use for Dracula. He wants him to help him find the white haired vampire that killed his mother.
Issue #43 takes a different narrative approach. Instead of picking up directly from Blade's challenge to Dracula, we begin with a reporter named Paul Butterworth. He's sort of along the same lines as Harold H. Harold, but not as bad. He's a real reporter, and he's more serious than Harold.
But this easily could have been a Harold H. Harold story if Harold was a little less of a joke of a character (and if Harold hadn't actually been on the scene last issue). Paul actually knows Harold, and, more intriguingly, he knows Morbius as well, although as far as i can tell this is Paul's only appearance.
Through Paul interviewing Harold, we recreate the conclusion of the previous issue. It turns out Dracula immediately refused Blade's demands, and they fought.
In Harold's version he helped Blade out during the fight.
So Paul decides that he'd rather interview Blade than Harold, so he goes off in search of him. But he instead finds Dracula fighting the police.
Paul himself is saved thanks to a crucifix that conveniently flies out from under his scarf.
Paul subsequently finds Blade and the other vampire hunters, and gets a more accurate account of the fight with Dracula than he was getting from Harold. But that interview is interrupted when Dracula shows up to attack.
The fight ends inconclusively, but Paul's appearance with Harker's group makes him a target, and Dracula subsequently attacks him at the Boston Bugle. During this attack, a distinction is made between a cross and the crucifix.
Paul manages to survive until dawn.
But the issue ends with Paul unable to provide any proof of his adventure to his editor.
We're still in above average territory, but between the questionable decision to resurrect Dracula, the comic stylings of Harold H. Harold, and the final story, we're in a kind of lull for this book. But it will bounce back from this.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: I've left a fair amount of time between last arc, where the vampire hunters had decided to resurrect Dracula and had stolen his ashes back from Dr. Sun, and this one where they're still kind of debating it while researching a way to actually do it. That's mostly just to keep in sync with publication time but i kind of like the idea that the threat of Dr. Sun has been getting worse behind the scenes, creating more of a justification for the crazy decision that the group makes to bring back Dracula.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Tomb of Dracula vol. 2
Inbound References (3): showAurora Rabinowitz, Blade, Deacon Frost, Doctor Sun, Dracula, Frank Drake, Harold H. Harold, Juno, Quincy Harker, Rachel Van Helsing, Saint (dog)
Nova 23 reveals that it was really Juno's brain that was destroyed this issue.
Posted by: Michael | February 1, 2015 8:19 PM
Added a reference in the Nova entry. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 1, 2015 9:04 PM
The "Night Staker" is a reference to / rip-off of the 74-75 TV series "Kolchak, the Night Stalker", which was an inspiration for the X-Files.
Posted by: Andrew | February 1, 2015 9:29 PM
"Nova 23 reveals that it was really Juno's brain that was destroyed this issue."
It's set up here, as Rachel discovers Juno's decapitated body at one point during the raid in Sun's HQ
Posted by: Omar Karindu | December 6, 2015 8:06 PM
Ah yes, the Vampire Hunters' Knitting Club is now in session, the Honorable Quincy Harker presiding. Can't tell if Saint is sleeping or hiding his disgust by feigning sleep, but it's like he's representing the reader's thoughts during these "skull sessions" Either that, or he's embarrased because Colan drew his head to look like a donkey's.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | June 9, 2017 3:31 PM
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