blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Tomb of Dracula (1972) #33

Tomb of Dracula  33Artists Gene Colan and Tom Palmer have done some stunning issues of Tomb of Dracula, but this issue’s their best (so far). They’ve got the horror—the A plot is Quincy Harker watching a decomposing Dracula die on the carpet—they’ve got the time Dracula broke Harker’s back, so a flashback to an opera. There’s a political thriller sequence; there’s Dracula being regally evil, there’s Dracula as a bat in the winter, and there’s even a British pub scene. Plus, an epilogue (apparently) for Taj, and then checking on Rachel to make sure she’s alive.

Rachel is alive—despite the vampire brides doing unspeakable things to her, but really they could’ve just been reading her The Feminine Mystique. Writer Marv Wolfman’s got plotting and pacing problems galore, both in the overall arc of the series but also in these last couple of issues. Luckily, there’s the great art to get it through. And the Harker and Dracula showdown has an exceptionally mean (and appropriate) finale. The problems all come in the epilogue.

After a one-page farewell (perhaps) to Taj, Wolfman checks in on Dracula in the last twenty minutes since he’s left Harker’s, does a two-page mugging to establish the British Parliament has been taken over by evil vampires (evil meaning not-Dracula’s goons), has a lengthy exposition from Dracula about the secret foe who’s wearing him from afar (it’s not a surprise, since Dracula’s only ever had one secret adversary in Tomb), and then does a cliffhanger. It’s the front part of one comic, and then another rushed to fit into the latter third of pages.

But the art holds, even through Wolfman’s sad revelation of the secret villain and Quincy’s tough personal decisions following the Dracula fight. Wolfman’s spinning his wheels a little, but the book’s fine as long as Colan and Palmer deliver such glorious issues.

Just a little thin at times, no matter how many plots Wolfman tries to stack.

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