Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blogging Marvel’s The Tomb of Dracula, Part Seven



The Tomb of Dracula #33, “Blood On My Hands” starts off with aged, blind wheelchair-bound Quincy Harker facing his greatest dilemma: if he lets Dracula die as the vampire deserves, then he forfeits the life of Rachel Van Helsing, held captive across town by Dracula’s brides. Quincy is tormented by the memory of his daughter Edith. He thinks back thirty years to the night Dracula abducted his wife and flung Quincy from his balcony seat at the opera leaving him crippled by the fall. Quincy’s wife survived another decade after Dracula’s attack, but never fully recovered. Faced with the tragedy of his life, Quincy spares Dracula to save Rachel. In gratitude, Dracula grasps the urn containing Edith’s remains and scatters them across the room, literally throwing her ashes in her father’s face. Leaving the reader feeling nothing but contempt for Dracula at his cruelest, writer Marv Wolfman shifts the setting to India where Taj Nital and his wife stand by their son’s grave. The pain of two grieving parents has reunited them. The issue rapidly picks up speed again as Dracula realizes Dr. Sun is the person who must have poisoned him and sets out to find him. Meantime, Inspector Chelm is on Dracula’s tail while the reader learns that the mysterious white-haired vampire sought by both Blade and Hannibal King is also seeking Dracula. Gene Colan’s artwork maintains the high level readers had come to expect as he and Marv Wolfman deliver another excellent issue that keeps the suspense raised as the storylines appear to be headed toward another major development.

Issue #34, “Showdown of Blood” sees the action shift to Brazil where Guest Star Brother Voodoo saves Frank Drake from the zombies. While in London, Inspector Chelm and his men bungle their attempt to slay Dracula. The reader learns that the mysterious white-haired vampire has been stalking Dracula for some time. A final interlude in India sees Taj make a bittersweet departure from the series as he writes a letter to Rachel Van Helsing explaining he will not return to London. Rachel rejoins Quincy, eager to hunt Dracula down. Wolfman then introduces us to embittered fashion designer, Daphne Von Wilkinson who encounters a weakened Dracula and begins providing him with the fresh blood he needs in the form of her enemies.

Issue #35, “Hell Hath No Fury” sees Daphne Von Wilkinson barter with Dracula. She will locate Dr. Sun using her fashion model contacts if he kills four of her enemies. The setting shifts to Brazil where Brother Voodoo and Frank Drake fight their way out of the army of zombies and determine to find Danny Summer. Dracula kills each of Daphne’s four remaining enemies in a series of vignettes. Von Wilkinson provides Dracula with the information he needs: Dr. Sun has set up base in Boston. Wolfman and Colan end the issue with a conclusion straight out of an EC horror anthology of the 1950s as Dracula unleashes his four undead victims to exact their vengeance on Daphne Von Wilkinson.

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