Writer Marv Wolfman starts this issue with a….
Okay, here’s a welcome to the future moment. Wolfman starts the issue with a quote about a Hindu king, making me think this issue was the third in his “religion” trilogy of issues (beginning with the Jewish issue, then a generally religious one) with Hinduism. But not only doesn’t Wolfman return to it—he’s just doing it to South Asia up Taj’s brief appearance, which reveals what I remember it revealing—it’s not even from a Hindu text. It’s from A Man and a Woman, an 1892 novel by one Stanley Waterloo, an American newspaperman turned novelist. Despite being a hit in the 1890s, Waterloo didn’t maintain popularity long enough for anyone to turn his works into movies.
He apparently made it into a book of quotes unless Wolfman was really into willfully forgotten pop literature.
After Taj’s scene, which has his wife taking him to see their vampire son, who the villagers have decided—out of fear but no inciting incident—should die. The villagers had been donating their blood for years to keep the kid “alive,” but not anymore. He’s got to go. It’s a well-illustrated scene but dramatically inert. Wolfman’s narration when Taj is protagonist is at best condescending and often worse.
The main story is Dracula, familiar Shiela, and her new de facto beau, David, fighting an unrevealed villain for control of the Chimera statue. No more spoilers than the following, but the Chimera statue is basically like if the Infinity Gauntlet were made out of toothpicks glued together. It can conquer the universe, but it’s really, really, really delicate.
The villain gives the leads hallucinations, good and bad, so Shiela dreams of Dracula loving her as a woman. David’s scared his dead dad was actually an atheist and thought his son going to Yeshiva was stupid. Dracula has a fight scene with the vampire hunters. Dracula’s hallucination ends with daughter Lilith delivering the fatal blow as she’s the one he fears the most. I wonder if that detail will come back.
The ending suggests the series is undergoing another change in supporting cast, which is peculiar for several reasons.
There’s excellent art from Gene Colan and Tom Palmer, and some of Wolfman’s character development is, if not successful, at least engaging. But there are definitely causes for concern. The series has been in a kind of limbo for a half dozen issues, and Wolfman’s just heading in deeper.