TOMB OF DRACULA ISSUE NUMBER TWENTY FOUR

"A NIGHT FOR THE LIVING ..A MORNING FOR THE DEAD!"

Cover Date: September1974

Writer: Marv Wolfman

Pencils:: Gene Colan

Inker: Tom Palmer

Colorist: Tom Palmer

Letterer: C. Jetter

Editor: Roy Thomas

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Main Characters: Dracula, Frank Drake, Rachel Van Helsing, Taj, & Blade

Synopsis: In London, Frank Drake and Rachel Van Helsing reflect on the time they have shared together battling Dracula.  Three years earlier on the same bridge where they stand now, Drake was about to commit suicide when he was rescued by Taj and Rachel.  Now, with Dracula dead, Drake ponders his future.

In nearby Castle Dunwick, Dracula's new ally Shiela Whittier ponders Dracula's whereabouts.  She does not believe the stories about him that he is a vampire or a killer.  She is wrong for elsewhere, Dracula kills his latest victim.

London is full of intrigue this night as Blade rescues his girlfriend Saffron from a vampire.  He takes her back to her London apartment where their romantic interlude is interrupted by Saffron's co-worker Trudy, an exotic dancer.  She tells Blade of a woman who approached her in her dressing room and entranced him with just a stare.  She took the stranger to her apartment and when she caught a good look at him, realized that he had fangs.  Momentarily shocked back to reality, she somehow grabbed a cross and drove it into the stranger's forehead, temporarily driving him off.   She ran to the safety of Saffron's home, repelling the stranger with the cross.

Blade wonders if the stranger is Dracula.  Quincy Harker has reported Dracula as dead but Blade has his doubts.  In any event, he will find the vampire and destroy it.

In Jajpur, India, Taj returns to his wife's home where she waits for him in a wheelchair.  She welcomes back and tells Taj that their son is dying.  Taj slaps her and leaves as she pleads with him not to abandon them again.

Back in London, Blade tracks the vampire that attacked Trudy and battles it throughout a London department store.  The battle ends in a stalemate with both Blade and the vampire wounded. Blade is unaware of the vampire's true identity as Dracula remains in giant bat form throughout the battle. A battered Blade returns to Saffron, seeking comfort while Dracula seeks rest back at Castle Dunwick.

Elsewhere, Frank Drake kisses Rachel Van Helsing goodbye.  He promises to return but tells her that he must first find out who he is.  

NOTES: After two TOD tales without the Drac Pack, issue 24 provides both a good interlude and an update on everyone's favorite vampire slayers. Taj returns to his homeland while Frank Drake decides he must discover who he is before he can return to Rachel.  For the past three years he has been consumed with destroying Dracula.  Now that Dracula is dead (or so he mistakenly believes), he must make a life for himself.  Before he met Dracula. Drake was an aimless loser who squandered his family fortune. His battle with Dracula has made him realize his potential.  Now he wants to fullfill it.

Blade's battle with Dracula is nothing out of the ordinary save for the fact that Dracula battles Blade as a giant bat in order to conceal his identity. This issue's brief look at Taj' domestic life reveals an unattractive side of the silent giant.

Shiela Whittier continues to blind herself to Dracula's true nature as her attraction to him continues to grow.

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