TOMB OF DRACULA ISSUE NUMBER TWENTY SEVEN


"NIGHT-FIRE!"

 

Cover Date: Dec. 1974


Writer/Editor: Marv Wolfman

Artists:        Gene Colan &   Tom Palmer

Colorist:       L. Lessman


Letterer:         John Costanza

 

MAIN CHARACTERS: Dracula, David Eshcol, Sheila Whittier

SYNOPSIS: Trapped in a sealed room, Dracula watches as holy water pours into the room,  death almost a certainty.  Dracula tells himself he cannot die again and realizes that he must quickly find a way out of the seemingly inescapable trap his unknown foe has lured him into.  Surveying the situation, Dracula transforms into a bat and attempts to fly through the hole the holy water is pouring out of.   There is little room to manuveur and he finds himself burnt by a splash of holy water.  Though he is in intense agony from the holy water induced burns, he continues his escape attempt, shifting his shape into that of mist.  He flies through the hole and makes his escape, only to succumb to the tremendous pain which has been inflicted on him.

Elsewhere, in Brazil, Frank Drake arrives to meet his old acquantince Danny Summers who has offered him a job running his Brazil office of Summers, Inc.  Drake is anxious to take the job and yet feels an impending sense of danger as well.   Far away in England, Rachel Van Helsing and Quincy Harker discuss Drake's quest to "find himself".  Van Helsing muses that Drake seems to feel inferior to her and threatened by her self-reliance.  Quincy tries to console her by telling her that Drake must sort through his problems before he can return to her but he knows Drake loves her and he will return when the time is right.

Outside of London, Yeshiva student David Eschol, accompanied by Dracula's spy Sheila Whittier drives in search of the two remaining pieces of the Chimera, a powerful magical artifact capable of transforming its wielder's thoughts into reality.   David's father died defending the piece from unknown assassins who sought out the Chimera and he is anxious to locate the remaining pieces but he is unaware of the Chimera's true power and believes it to be nothing more than a historical relic.  He is also unaware that the woman with him Sheila Whittier is in love with Dracula and spying for him while she poses as a representative from a museum interested in the Chimera.  As she holds a piece of the Chimera, her wish that Dracula was with her magically brings Dracula to her.  David stops his car when he sees Dracula suddenly appear in front of his car.

Dracula greets David and tells him to give him the piece of the Chimera.   David is wary, sensing that there is more to Dracula than meets the eye.  Still, Dracula convinces him to give him the Chimera and demonstrates its true power by summoning monsters of fire to rain down his vengeance across the world.   In faraway India, Taj watches as a fiery monster destroys a jeep and its passengers.  Dracula then uses the Chimera to reverse his destruction and return everything to normal.   He tells Eschol that this demonstration of power pales before what the Chimera can do once its three pieces have been reunited.

For all its power though, the piece of the Chimera cannot be used to locate the other missing pieces.  To help his search, Dracula uses the Chimera to raise an undead army to search for the missing pieces.  He then asks David if he knows what he is.   Despite the evidence in front of him, Eschol finds it hard to believe that there are such things as vampires.  Dracula laughs at Eschol's naievity and goes to kill him when David pulls out a Star of David, driving Dracula back.  Dracula again raises David's doubts about himself and what is happening to him to give him a moment to attack.  Dracula leaps on Eschol but before he can kill him, Eschol drives the Star of David into his face, burning the Lord of Vampires.   David reaches for the piece of the Chimera but before he can, two assassins with guns order him to back off.  They are taking the Chimera for themselves and their employer.  

NOTES:  Dracula's escape from the holy water trap is rather simple given the person who devised the trap but it is a good illustration of Dracula's cunning as is his later verbal battle with David Eschol where he twice defeats the Yeshiva student by causing him to doubt himself.  

Time and time again throughout TOD, Dracula has ambitions to rule the world but he is also wise enough to realize it is little more than a dream without the power to pull it off.  With the Chimera in his possession, he knows he will have the power to rule the world thus we see his intense desire to reunite the three pieces of the ancient artifact.

Sheila Whittier and David Eschol are very similar in that their goals are hindered by their uncertainty in themselves.  Sheila's desire for  love is thwarted by her inability to see the truth behind Dracula caused by her self-doubt that she is worthy of better. Likewise, David's quest for wisdom is hindered by his inability to understand the existence of the supernatural, compounded with his own self-doubt.

 

 

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