Tomb of Dracula (1972) #12

Tod12

You know, maybe I’m overthinking the writing on Frank Drake. Maybe he’s just a shitty racist who doesn’t Taj for being Indian. It sure seems like it. Especially after he has a “quaking in his boots” moment before Blade shows up and saves his ass.

Tom Palmer’s back inking Gene Colan this issue, which is good, but it’d be better if the story weren’t just about Dracula messing with the vampire slayers. Though they’re not very good at vampire slaying, apparently. Drac’s mistake is inviting Blade along because then Blade can save everyone’s butt.

Mostly.

The issue opens with the vampire slayers interrupting Dracula’s evening snack, so he kidnaps Edith (Quincy Harker’s kid, whose most personality to date was complaining Blade isn’t polite enough to her) and tells them they have to come to a haunted mansion, or he’ll kill her. Once he gets Edith to the haunted mansion, he explains she’s dead either way.

The vampire slayers show up and walk right into the haunted mansion—called “Whispering Hell”—knowing it’s a trap. They don’t do anything to prepare for the trap angle; they just muscle their way in, thinking everything will be okay. Basically, because Taj will eventually save them. Only Taj can’t save them this time. Instead, Blade has to save them.

It’s a strange comic—writer Marv Wolfman seems aware Frank Drake is a bumbler, for example, but he’s still got to be a hero. Dracula, meanwhile, is a mean dude—he’s literally just making the vampire slayers suffer for kicks—but he’s at least not incompetent at it. Sure, inviting Blade was a mistake, but the Count was right about Quincy’s vampire slayers not being up to the task. The story just serves to humiliate the heroes, deservingly humiliate them.

They’re even more unlikeable when they don’t acknowledge Blade saved their lily-white asses.

The issue presents the ending as a surprise, but it’s pretty obvious stuff. It initially seems like it’s going to be a new development in the series overall, only—again—Wolfman takes an easy way out with it.

The art’s good but the content—Dracula versus vampire slayers in an old mansion—limits what Colan and Palmer are going to be able to do with it. Especially since Dracula’s only idea for a trap is, like, a bunch of bats and a bunch of spiders. Admittedly, the slayers can’t contend with either of them, but still….

Stop playing with your food, Vlad.

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