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Tomb of Dracula #16: Review

Jan 1974
Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan

Story Name:

Return from the Grave!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Tomb of Dracula #16 Review by (October 26, 2020)

Review: A ghostly whodunit pits Dracula against a homeless corpse with a spectacular confrontation in an issue that looks like a throwback to the 1950s pre-Marvel horror comics. The story doesn’t entirely make sense: It isn’t made clear what the corpse took from the safe in the opening scene. Or why he is reconstituted after he crumbles into dust twice when it is opened, first by the grave robbers then by Dracula. Or why Corley keeps leaving his grave after reoccupying it, first to go to the lawyer’s home and then to track down Mrs. Beare, and finally to go out on the road where Chelm’s car hits him. But then a horror story doesn’t have to make sense: that’s part of the horror. So, it all ends on a thrilling note despite having a police inspector dump all of the exposition on us on the last page. No, it really ends with Drac respecting the dead man’s desire for eternal rest—even if Drac can never know it for himself.

Comments: First appearance, as a voice from offstage, of Doctor Sun. Inspector Chelm was previously seen in issues #3 and 6; he hasn’t been as significant a character as he had seemed at first.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tomb of Dracula #16 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

A walking corpse enters the home of solicitor James Jackson, kills his secretary, rips open the safe and takes something from inside; when Jackson arrives, the corpse knocks him out and departs….

Count Dracula awakens in Highgate Cemetery and plans to feast on two graverobbers he comes upon—but the corpse sits up in its coffin, kills the two robbers, and dissolves into dust before Dracula can take vengeance on the one that stole his victims. The vampire lord summons his slave the cemetery caretaker and has him bury the two bodies then heads to town where he locates a woman contemplating suicide to prey upon….

Inspector Chelm, hearing from James Jackson that the killer looked like a corpse, calls Quincy Harker to suggest Dracula may be involved; Harker doesn’t think so. Chelm then receives a report of trouble downtown. A walking corpse has confronted a woman in the street and stolen her locket; several men from a nearby pub come to her defense but the corpse is surprisingly strong. Dracula spies the action and swoops down to take vengeance upon his new enemy but the corpse hurls Dracula through a window and escapes. The police arrive and Chelm tries to halt the vampire for questioning but Dracula waits for no man….

In Ireland, Chen, servant of Doctor Sun, delivers the vampire Lucas Brand to his master; he is asked to choose his reward and Chen requests that his father be freed from prison in China and Doctor Sun agrees….

Dracula trails the corpse back to its grave and opens it; the corpse seizes him but one forceful thrust causes it to crumble to dust. Dracula recognizes the name on the tombstone: Paul Beare, an occultist he once knew. Dracula goes to Beare’s mansion and finds Beare’s corpse with a note attached: “Do not bury him again.” Dracula takes Beare’s body to the cemetery but is confronted by the walking corpse; Dracula battles it and tears it apart, bone by bone. Inspector Chelm arrives to explain matters: occultist Paul Beare died four weeks ago and by astrology chose the place he wanted to be buried; problem: there was already someone buried there, one Duncan Corley. Beare’s attorney James Jackson had Corley’s body moved; Corley wanted his own grave back so he invaded Jackson’s home, stole the locket from Beare’s widow because it contained a piece of his own tombstone, and then went back to his grave to die in peace. Dracula scoffs but returns Corley’s bones to his grave….

Gene Colan
Tom Palmer
Tom Palmer
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Tom Palmer (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Art Simek.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Sun
Doctor Sun

(Dr. Sun)

Plus: Lucas Brand.

> Tomb of Dracula: Book info and issue index

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