Uncanny X-Men annual #6
Issue(s): Uncanny X-Men annual #6
The actual act occurs off panel. It's kind of an ignominious ending to a character who was such a strong lead after 70 issues of Tomb of Dracula. Rachel was a strong female character that had potential. She's got a long history in the Tomb of Dracula comic as well as the Van Helsing name. I could see her having become a lead feature during the period where the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show was popular (which coincided with a horror revival at Marvel) or when the 2004 Van Helsing movie was made (even though it kind of bombed).
Her death and enslavement to Dracula is extra creepy because it's an idea that Claremont gave to Dracula way back in Giant-Size Dracula #3. Claremont's books are full of domination and mind control but for some reason i find it more squicky than usual when it's an immortal villain casually deciding to enslave someone and then getting around to doing it 8 years later. It's perfectly in character for Dracula (and vampire themes generally) and really demonstrates the menace of his immortality, so it's actually a really diabolical choice on Claremont's part (i wonder if he had it in mind all along, or was reminded of it when writing this issue, or if it's just a coincidence). But at the same time... yuck.
Anyway, meanwhile, Kitty is upset because her parents are getting divorced, and she's being a bit of a brat about it towards the other X-Men.
Later, Dracula re-asserts his control over Storm (even though he had previously promised to relinquish it), and Storm heads out alone to meet with Dracula (these panels are actually part of a dream sequence but it gets the point across).
Kitty is also acting strange - it will turn out that she is possessed by Dracula's daughter, Lilith.
As the X-Men fight Dracula and Rachel (and half of them get possessed and wind up fighting each other)...
...Lilith gets her hands on a book and begins reciting the Montesi Formula...
...but Nightcrawler stops her, because if she had completed the recitation, Kitty's soul would have been lost. (The Formula would have destroyed any vampires in the area, but at the cost of the reader's soul.)
In the end Dracula is impaled with a stake by Rachel...
...but his castle crumbles to the ground before the X-Men are able to complete the killing by severing his head. Rachel allows herself to be killed to avoid living out eternity as a vampire.
Bill Sienkiewicz's art is good, but there's still no real signs of his later experimental work.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Professor X is currently away at Muir Island. The MCP places this between Uncanny X-Men #167-168.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): showColossus, Cyclops, Dracula, Lilith (Dracula's Daughter), Nightcrawler, Rachel Van Helsing, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde), Storm, Wolverine
The Montesi Formula was actually first mentioned in a Steve Gerber-written story in Dracula Lives.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 18, 2011 4:07 PM
Thanks - updated above.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 18, 2011 10:52 PM
minor point, part of hy Kitty was acting like such a "brat" about her parents divorce, is Lilith can only possess girls who hate their father
Posted by: Russell White | September 15, 2013 6:31 AM
I liked this one. Claremont had the knack for vampire horror, and Sienkiewicz's art is powerful. Those panels of Kitty in tears are very raw, and the vampire Storm regally scary.
Posted by: Todd | September 16, 2013 5:44 AM
Killing off Rachel was a stupid decision...
Posted by: Rataplas | February 23, 2014 6:40 AM
Irregardless of the wisdom of the decision to kill off Rachel, her final death scene is done really really well.
You could say Kitty is being a brat, but she's also a teenager dealing with her parents getting a divorce. For those who have gone through it, it's traumatic at any age. Yes, she shouldn't be taking it out on the others, but it's realistic for her to be doing so.
This works better as being between #167 and #168 than some of her other appearances (Contest of Champions, in DC for Hulk's pardon, protecting Thing in the hospital), during a time she's not supposed to be on the team, partially because she's not really on the team (she and Colossus slip away on their own because she's possessed) and partially because Xavier is in Scotland.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 7, 2015 12:30 PM
It's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, not Hunter.
Posted by: EHH | January 31, 2016 2:22 AM
Gotta admit to liking Dracula's new duds complete with Tom Jones/Englebert Humperdink ruffled shirt.The cape gives him the Vegas stage magician vibe.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | June 21, 2017 8:53 PM
I'm having a hard time understanding the placement for this issue. It has to be after #167, I get that, but I don't understand why Xavier being in Muir Island affects placement. At the end of #167 he is aboard the Starjammer and at the beginning of #168 he is training in the Danger Room.
Are you assuming that between both issues he went with Moira to Muir Island to do therapy on his legs?
Posted by: Bibs | July 12, 2017 3:43 AM
Also worth noting is that the backup from x-men special edition goes after this one.
Kitty has her late 14th Birthday party (the actual anniversary occured while in space). And she comments about her parents getting divorced.
Posted by: Bibs | July 12, 2017 4:43 AM
Sometimes i use the Placement Considerations section to note what the comic says about a character's absence. It doesn't necessarily affect placement of the issue in question. I'm just noting that the comic says that Xavier is currently away at Muir Island, in case that becomes relevant due to some other issue.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 20, 2017 3:21 PM
I dont know but I think this story takes place before the Brood saga. Right after when Xavier supposely recovers and right before the X-MEN have a space party before being jumped by Deathbird and the Brood. so in between a gap in Uncanny 161. it would make sense since Dracula said he hasnt cut off his connection to Storm. I figure Storm being body reborn in the Brood Saga would have also dealt with Dracula connection that will make her rise as a vampire after death. so yeah I dont think this takes place after the Brood saga but rather before.
Posted by: rzerox21xx | September 18, 2017 2:35 PM
But this can't take place during X-Men 161 since the mansion is still being rebuilt in that story, and it seems intact in this Annual. There's no reason to assume that Storm being reborn in the Brood Saga would end the connection with Dracula. (Presumably, it was ended when Strange used the Montesi Formula on Dracula and/or when Roma brought Storm back to life.)
Posted by: Michael | September 19, 2017 12:15 AM
I miss the days when writers of annuals could indulge themselves with stories like this one, instead of being yoked into teams of editorially-driven crossover-event writing mules.
Posted by: Holt | June 24, 2018 8:09 AM
There's no reason to assume that Storm being reborn in the Brood Saga would end the connection with Dracula. (Presumably, it was ended when Strange used the Montesi Formula on Dracula and/or when Roma brought Storm back to life.)
In this story, Lllith claims that the connection to Storm (and to Wolverine, for that matter) is severed when Dracula "dies" here, something that doesn't really fit with his old Tomb of Dracula appearances.
It seems to me that between this and the upcoming Thor story, we were getting a sort of "farewell tour" fro Dracula ahead of his (then) final destruction in Stern's Doctor Strange. In that light, Rachel's death and vampiric destruction, as well as the reintroduction of the Montesi Formula, work as setup for Dracula's final bow.
So perhaps editorial was involved after all.....
Posted by: Omar Karindu | June 30, 2018 11:45 AM
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