TOMB OF DRACULA ISSUE NUMBER THIRTY

"MEMORIES ON A MOURNING'S NIGHT"

Cover Date: March 1975

Writer: Marv Wolfman

Artists: Gene Colan & Tom Palmer

Colorist: Tom Palmer

Letterer: John Costanza

Editor: Len Wein

.Main Characters: Dracula, Blade

Synopsis:: As Dracula reflects on the recent death of Sheila Whittier, he also recalls some of his setbacks in the past.

 The first is an encounter with Lyza Strang, a German noblewoman who seeks to have Dracula kill her husband in order for Otto Von Bismarck to be appointed minister of the German states. She tells Dracula that her husband is war-like and should he rise to power, his warlike tendencies will cause conflict in Romania (and nearby Transylvania).  Dracula then kills Strang's husband Archibald only to be ambushed by forces sent by Lyza Strang herself. She attempts to woo Bismarck but he has no interest in someone as treacherous as she and exiles her from Germany and is killed by Dracula who has survived the attempt on his life.  

Dracula's second flashback deals with Melanie Knight, a blind girl Dracula encounters.  As Dracula attempts to interact with the young girl, the girl's parents argue over her future.  Her mother wishes to continue sending the child to a special school for the blind but her recently unemployed husband fears he will lose the house he has worked so long and hard for if he has to send her.  In a moment of rage, the husband kills his wife only to be confronted by Dracula who in turn kills him, thinking that the young girl will want revenge.  When he tells the young girl what has happened, she lashes out at Dracula who leaves her, confused at why she would not want Dracula to act as her avenger.

The final tale takes Dracula back to China in 1968, an event that he considers to be his greatest setback in the modern era.  The events begin with a young Blade introducing himself to Dracula as a man who realizes that humanity will lose the war against vampires and who wishes to help Dracula so that he can be spared in inevitable new vampiric order.  Dracula follows Blade to his base, a cavern nearby and meets Blade's four companions, Ogun, Azu, Musenda, and Orji.  There, the five ambush Dracula and manage to kill him.  However when the five leave the cave, to prepare a grave for Dracula, three of Dracula's female servants return and revive him. When Blade and his friends return, Dracula ambushes them and kills two of their number.  

As Dracula looks back on his setbacks he realizes that he will always survive because of his nature and because he is Dracula, Lord of the Damned.

NOTES: This is a great anthology issue in which we get to see some of Dracula's setbacks throughout history.  The tale set in the 19th Century helps show Dracula's continuing political ambitions and his behind the scenes manipulation of important figures.  In this flashback we also learn that Dracula has a foul stench due to his undead nature when he realizes that Lyza Strang would not openly embrace him (during her efforts to seduce him) unless he commanded her to.

The second story helps show Dracula's perverted sense of honor and his personal code of ethics.  He feels that he must kill Melanie's father after he kills her mother in a moment of rage and cannot appreciate how she mourns her father's death.  One can speculate what motivates Dracula to feel pity on the young blind girl.  After all, what is he doing near her?  Was he going to feed on her?  

The final story gives us a bit more information on Blade's past.  We see his first encounter with Drac and learn that of the four allies in his battle against Dracula, only one ofstill lives (we'll eventually meet the survivor in a later issue) .  We also see Dracula's bigotry when he refers to Blade as a "savage".  Blade is without question, Dracula's deadliest foe in the modern era next to Quincy Harker, and the disdain Dracula feels for him is heightened by Dracula's bigoted notions of Blade's inferiority based on race. 

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