blogging by Andrew Wickliffe


Tomb of Dracula (1972) #31


Tomb of Dracula  31The “Taj in India” C plot has been running seven issues, so half a year, and it’s just now getting to him staking his vampire son. The cover shows Taj thrilled to do it and the wife begging him to stop; the interior’s the opposite; the entire point of Taj going home was to stake the kid before the villagers do it. And to slap his wife around for being… a woman, basically.

Anyway.

Writer Marv Wolfman and penciller Gene Colan cover the Taj C plot simultaneously with the Frank Drake C plot. Frank’s down in South America working for his shitty white guy pal and not noticing all the workers seem to be literal zombies. Neither subplot gets any resolution (and Frank’s doesn’t even get a real cliffhanger), but maybe next time, we’ll finally get some movement on the Taj story. I mean, we won’t, but still. I’ll pretend.

Then we get a half page of Rachel Van Helsing (once the series lead) moping around with an ominous, text-only cliffhanger. Great art from Colan and inker Tom Palmer, but it’s the laziest check-in Tomb could do.

The actual A plot involves Inspector Chelm finally getting the upper hand in his hunt for Dracula. The issue opens with Drac killing a member of Parliament’s daughter (a week after killing the wife), assuming such loss will inspire the guy to vote for “The Master.” It’s unclear the guy doesn’t know “The Master” is Dracula, but there’s also a conspiracy group subplot (almost entirely in expository dialogue) and then a qualified reveal of Dracula’s great scheme.

Qualified because Wolfman reveals the good guys know there’s a great scheme, and they reveal to Dracula they know it, but the reader doesn’t find out. If it goes at Taj pace… it’ll only be four issues before we hear about it again.

Wolfman does a neat little “mixed media” thing with a newspaper report about the Parliament member’s daughter’s death.

Quincy Harker making his own speakerphone, so he doesn’t have to hold the receiver because he’s too busy reading papers, is less neat and makes it hard to sympathize with the heroes. Sure, they’re not trying to take over the world and kill everyone, but Dracula’s not out there making Rube Goldberg speakerphones either.

Gorgeous art from Colan and Palmer, some of their best even: it’s a police conspiracy thriller guest-starring Dracula, and they make it happen.


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