Writer: David Kraft
Artists: Don Heck
Inker: Frank Springer
Letterer: Artie Simek
Colorist: Petra G.
Co-Plotter: Marv Wolfman
Editor: Len Wein
Main Characters: Dracula & Beverly Carpenter
SYNOPSIS: A man is thrown overboard from an oceanliner by Dracula and is swept into the props. A young woman named Beverly Carpenter watches him die then sees Dracula (who identifies himself as Justin Drake). She confides in him that she has never seen a man die. As he walks her back to her cabin, Dracula tells her that death isd just a breath away.
In Devil's Lake, North Dakota, a farmer named Anton Nyborg is installing a fence when he is murdered by an unknown assailant.
Four months later from meeting Dracula, Beverly Carpenter has returned from her trip and meets with her father. She asks her father why he has been avoiding her after her mother's death. The two argue and Beverly leave telling him that she wished he'd died instead of her mother.
Elsewhere, Dracula has come to Devil's Lake, seeking a malignant evil that he has sensed. Such an evil must be eradicated before it can challenge the Lord of Vampires. Dracula feeds on a young woman before running into Beverly Carpenter and her friend Stu in town. Dracula tells her that such a coincidence bodes well for his mission. When Beverly invites him to stay on her farm, he accepts her offer. However when they return to the farm, Beverly's father is nowhere to be found.
Paul Carpenter is at the church of St. Michael's where he meets with Father Aimes. He talks of the events that lead up to his wife's death. Carpenter discloses to Father Aimes how a strange force came over him and causeed him to kill a sparrow then the family dog. This force again overcame him one night while he was arguing with his wife. He began choking her until she broke free and fled from their home only to be caught in a raging blizzard and die.
Carpenter tells Father Aimes that he fears that the force will compel him to murder his daughter. Father Aimes replies by attacking Carpenter. Carpenter fights back and bludgeons Aimes with a candlestick.
Back at the Carpenter farm, Dracula impatiently awaits the arrival of Paul Carpenter. Finally he leaves and goes out into the stormy night where he flies until he finds the evil force he has been seeking. Dracula notes that the storm itself seemed to intensify when he arrived on the scene and he deduces that the evil force muas have sensed his presence.
Meanwhile, Beverly is waiting for her father when she is attacked by Stu. Stu tells her that she is the one to make him free. Just then, Paul Carpenter arrives but instead of rescuing her, he takes her captive. Stu and Paul are joined by Father Aimes and Anton Nyborg. The four men take Beverly down a well which leads to a giant cavern.
Dracula arrives on the scene and makes his way to the cave where he discovers a giant heart inside the cavern. He commands the four men to stop as Beverly belongs to him. The men attack him and he easily fights them off . Then the force behind the heart attempts to compel Dracula into killing Beverly. He successfully resists the force and eatches as Paul Carpenter lunges Beverly with a knife. Dracula fails to stop him and the knife is plunged into Beverly's heart. Moments later, the giant heart starts to bleed!
As the heart dies, Dracula is bombarded with psychic imagery of the heart's origin. Many years ago, a Sioux necromancer dabbled into the black arts, exchanging lives in order to sustain his own life. The unfortunate end was that he became the giant heart and suffered for centuries at the knowledge of what he had done. Finally, the night's sacrifice brings an end to his existence.
As Paul Carpenter stands over his dead daughter, He begs Dracula to kill him but Dracula dismisses him, telling him that his motive has never been mercy. Dracula leaves Paul Carptenter to his own devices.
NOTES: This is a confusing story in a few respects. First, we never learn why Dracula has thrown a man off of the oceanliner he is on. Second, it's never explained how Father Aimes and AntonNyborg are brought back to life. Third, it's never explained why the heart compelled its victims to murder. Finally, the story is set in 1934 but the time of the setting doesn't seem to serve any purpose.
In the end, this story is nothing special and it seemed like nothing but a way to capitalize on the success of the Tomb of Dracula without the creativity that made the flagship title so enjoyable.