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Tomb of Dracula #20: Review

May 1974
Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan

Story Name:

The Coming of Doctor Sun

Review & Comments

4 stars

Tomb of Dracula #20 Review by (November 24, 2020)

Review: The snowbound adventure that began last issue continues into this one but there’s a new twist: the story ends up in an uncharacteristic sci-fi setting, complete with mad scientist Doctor Sun! An audacious move—but surely no more audacious than having Dracula cross over with Spider-Man. Clifton Graves makes his final surprising appearance (anticipating Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier by three decades) though he doesn’t hang around long. And we get an “origin” for Rachel van Helsing which takes a wrong turn when we learn that Dracula returned to kill Abraham van Helsing, his slayer from the movies. Discovering that after the hero has defeated the villain, the villain returned to kill the hero violates some sort of unofficial code of storytelling leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Otherwise, things get more superhero/sci fi next time with a burning lab climax and everything!

Comments: Part two of three parts. Absolute final appearance of Clifton Graves. A No-Prize to anyone who knows why Dracula is in chains on the cover.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tomb of Dracula #20 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Count Dracula is in the Transylvanian Alps pursued by Rachel van Helsing and Frank Drake in a helicopter, firing wooden bullets at him. The Count finds the winds are too strong for him to fly as a bat so he tries ducking among the crags and hiding in the snow. He comes across the remnants of a recent campfire and locates a man in a nearby cave; the man is dead from exposure and Dracula tries drinking his blood but finds it foul. Dracula also discovers that the cave is full of treasure, likely hidden by the Turks centuries ago, but no good to him now; he passes out from hunger….

In the copter, Frank asks Rachel why she is so determined to kill Dracula; she explains that Dracula killed her grandfather, the famous Professor van Helsing, then returned years later to kill her parents. She was nine years old that night and her life was saved only by the sudden arrival of Quincy Harker who chased the vampire off. Quincy raised her as a daughter, training her to be the ultimate vampire hunter….

Northern Ireland: Having passed all of the tests, vampire Lucas Brand is finally introduced to his new master, Doctor Sun—who is revealed to be a disembodied brain hooked up to machines….

Back in the Alps, Dracula awakens to find himself in a cave, a prisoner of Professor Morgo, servant of Doctor Sun. The Count is restrained by garlic infused chains; Morgo reveals to Dracula who his betrayer was: Clifton Graves. His body a mass of scars, Cliff explains that he was critically injured in the boat explosion at the end of issue #10 but Sun’s men, hunting for Dracula, found him and put him back together. Cliff taunts Dracula with a vial of blood but he breaks free and kills Morgo, drinking his blood. As he wrestles with Cliff, Frank and Rachel arrive; while Franks shoots the guards, Rachel aims her crossbow at Dracula—who swiftly pushes Cliff in the way, letting him take the fatal bolt. Then a curtain swings aside and an immobility beam captures Dracula, Frank, and Rachel. They are now all prisoners of Doctor Sun….

Gene Colan
Tom Palmer
Glynis Wein
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Tom Palmer (Cover Inker)
Tom Palmer (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: John Costanza.


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