Well, they found the worst inker (so far) for Gene Colan—Jack Abel. But then they had to one-up it with a letterer so bad the comic’s visually unpleasant to read. Denise Wohl’s the letterer (credited as D. Vladimer, presumably because you can’t have too many girls working on a book).
This issue features the first appearance of Blade.
And it is a stinker of a comic book.
It opens with three vampires attacking would-be stowaways on the London docks. Or some docks in England. Doesn’t matter. Blade saves them, then Quincy Harker confronts him. Last issue, when Quincy got a phone call and had to rush away, it was about Blade being active in the area. Quincy’s mad Blade killed a teenage vampire. Blade asks what Quincy would do about it.
Quincy’s got no answer, then defends Blade when daughter Edith says he’s rude. I don’t know if it’s supposed to come off slightly racist, but calling confident, capable Black people rude doesn’t ever not have connotations. Swell.
The story’s about Dracula hijacking a yacht. The owner looks vaguely like Paul Williams. I say vaguely because it’s impossible to know what anything should look like after Abel’s inks have mangled Colan’s pencils. Dracula’s on board to convince all of this rich guy’s friends to be subservient to him. Dracula tells Clifton Graves (who’s got different color hair this issue) they’re all too wimpy to resist Dracula.
But Dracula’s first scene with the yacht party is being a sniveling dipshit. After he snacks on a blonde, though, he’s ready to hijack the ship and threaten to kill them all if they don’t pledge fealty. It’s a stupid plan. For an already stupid comic book, it’s a stupid plan.
Even with better art, it’d be a bad comic. It’s a lousy script, though Blade’s a fun character once the Harkers aren’t complaining he’s not articulate enough. But I can’t actually don’t know if anything could overcome the lettering. This comic contains a lot of text, and it’s painful to read. Wohl’s lettering is the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.
There are also a bunch of continuity issues—including notes about how we need to be reading Dracula Lives! to know what’s going on—but Dracula knows Blade, which makes absolutely no sense. He’s been making vampires for his legion, which we’ve never seen before in the comic.
It’s a stinker for sure, start to finish. However, I’m relatively confident it’s just writer Marv Wolfman having a (very) lousy month.
And at least they didn’t call him Black Blade.