TOMB OF DRACULA ISSUE NUMBER FIVE
"DEATH TO A VAMPIRE SLAYER"
Cover Date: November 1972
Writer: Gardner F. Fox
Artist: Eugene Colan
Inker: Tom Palmer
Letterer: Artie Simek
Editor: Roy Thomas
Main Characters: Dracula, Frank Drake, Rachel Van Helsing, Taj,
Synopsis:: Rachel and Frank are in hot pursuit of Dracula when they see the vampire lord escape through Ilsa Strangeway's enchanted mirror, dragging Taj as he does. They stop the chase, unable to enter the mirror without the proper incantation.
Meanwhile, Dracula and Taj enter an unholy realm populated by powerful monsters. Dracula battles the monsters and abandons Taj until he realizes that Taj may be the only source of blood in the realm. Dracula searches the realm for another enchanted mirror through which to escape the realm. After a fierce battle with the monsters, he escapes and discovers that he is in Transylvania- but when? He imprisons Taj in a sarcophagus and proceeds to get his bearings.
Frank and Rachel visit Ilsa Strangeway's butler and learn that Strangeway had a book on witchcraft that may provide them with the correct incantation to access the mirror. They find the book and discover the proper incantation after Rachel analyzes it. Rachel deduces that Dracula would likely return to Transylvania before Abraham Van Helsing killed him and so they use the mirror to travel back in time to Transylvania.
Back in Transylvania, Dracula learns that he has returned to the time shortly after Abraham Van Helsing slew him. He decides to kill Van Helsing but learns that his plan will have to wait as Van Helsing is away. He then kills a young woman and the nearby village soon learns that the reports of Dracula's death have been greatly exaggerated. The villagers gather themselves and march on Castle Dracula, determined to destroy the vampire once and for all. However the angry mob is no power for Dracula and they are repulsed.
After defeating the villagers, Dracula learns that Frank and Rachel have found him. He is determined to carry out his plan to kill Abraham Van Helsing but he must deal with Frank and Rachel as well. Dracula decides to free a vampire that he has kept imprisoned for centuries in a bottle of blood. He smashes the bottle and a beautiful female vampire named Lenore appears. Dracula instructs her to destroy Frank and Rachel while he attends to his own business.
Lenore attacks Frank, Rachel, and Taj in the graveyard. She nearly defeats them until Frank and Taj use a cross-shaped gravestone to drive her off. The vampire hunters then head for the home of Abraham Van Helsing where they discover Dracula about to kill him. The aged vampire hunter cannot believe that Dracula is alive after killing him not long ago. Dracula's assault is stopped as Rachel fires a bow borrowed from a villager. Dracula avoids the arrow by morphing into a bat and escapes. Lenore joins him as he speaks the incantation and escapes into demon mirror. Frank, Taj, and Rachel are close behind though and determined to catch Dracula.
NOTES: The revolving door of Drac writers continues this issue with comics legend Gardner Fox writng the story.
This issue has several interesting spots. First, we get a look at Abraham Van Helsing, the grandfather of vampire hunter Rachel Van Helsing. Second, the introduction of the Lenore character, a female vampire imprisoned for centuries by Dracula. She is imprisoned in a bottle of blood with no explanation of how she is kept there. Perhaps she was in mist form, similar to a genie and the blood kept her alive. Finally, we see some of Rachel Van Helsing's parasychology background come into play. She finds the proper incantation in Ilsa Strangeway's book of witchcraft. We also see that she is very familiar with Dracula's strategy and tactics as she successfully deduces that he will head for 19th Century Transylvania.