blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Tomb of Dracula (1972) #26

Tomb of Dracula  26

I’m not sure if this issue’s Marv Wolfman’s best Tomb, but it’s his most ambitious. He weaves the story—which involves a missing magical statue, a dead shop owner, Frank Drake and Taj being shitty dudes, a Kull-related flashback, and Dracula’s familiar, Shiela, meeting a British witch—through Old Testament verses. The shop owner’s Jewish, and his son (David, who seems like he’s going to recur even after next issue) is visiting him from a yeshiva. Just as the old man is about to complete his life’s work, some bad guys break in and kill him.

Dracula shows up a few minutes later at the active crime scene, wanting the statue and realizing the son’s got a piece of it. Dracula tasks Shiela with befriending David, and he takes her to see this old British witch who tells them about Kull. No editor’s notes with issue numbers, which was kind of disappointing. This statue can grant wishes—an Infinity Gauntlet you don’t need to snap—and Dracula wants it to… make himself immortal immortal, not vampire immortal. So he can still be evil but during the day.

David and Shiela are a nice couple. Like, Tomb of Dracula’s humans are usually obnoxious. Look at Frank Drake, who’s laying about since abandoning Rachel Van Helsing and the vampire hunters. It’s been three days since he left her—I swear this book has three different timelines going at once—and a sexy troubleshooter named Chastity Jones has tracked him down. She wants to give him a job being rich and fabulous again, plus she wants to get busy. Does he want to call Rachel (who he luvs, he said), or does he want to get horizontal?

So, immediately, David’s a bit more sympathetic a human character.

Oh, wait, then there’s Taj. He only gets a page because he’s not white; he’s moping around India because beating up his wife last issue or whatever didn’t make him feel better. Some old friend comes to plead with him to see her. So he beats that guy up too. Taj is a dick.

After spending the issue in the literal shadows, watching the humans do their things, Dracula gets into some trouble of his own while looking for the statue pieces, leading to a surprising cliffhanger. Though only because Dracula assumes he can’t possibly be in danger, but there wouldn’t be much of a comic without it.

It’s a strange combination of character study, mystical adventure, and Dracula. There are some bumps, but Gene Colan and Tom Palmer’s art is exquisite, and Wolfman’s working his buns off.

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