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Tomb of Dracula #34: Review

Jul 1975
Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan

Story Name:

Showdown of Blood!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Tomb of Dracula #34 Review by (April 21, 2021)

Review: Brother Voodoo appears, as does the as yet unnamed Deacon Frost, and Taj bids farewell while everyone wonders about Doctor Sun. Then the big story: Dracula comes under the power of a disgruntled feminist! Feminism was still fairly new at this time and many writers were trying to wrap their minds around the idea, especially male ones. This version is okay, with Daphne von Wilkinson seeking power and prestige in an industry where men have cheated and belittled her, starting with her domineering father; all well and good. But then we run into the silly revelation that she hires women regardless of their ability to do the work. She hires only women? Then why did we first see her berating an incompetent male employee? Where did that guy come from? Why would she have hired an incompetent man? Not the last bit about her that doesn’t make sense: there the fact that, in a world where Bram Stoker’s novel and presumably its film adaptations exist, Daphne is completely unfazed by a) a man breaking through her office window; b) the man claiming to be Dracula the vampire, and c) this man carrying official police documentation of his identity. And we’re also left to wonder why Dracula couldn’t take care of his own hunger because, even though he’s weakening, there always seems to be a plentiful supply of attractive young women walking dark streets or alleys. Brother Voodoo’s appearance is cool as this title doesn’t usually get any non-monster guest stars, though the hero doesn’t get a very large role. And then there the other sticking point: Chelm learns from Rachel that Doctor Sun is involved and plans to check him out yet the police document Dracula obtained at the beginning revealed that the cops already knew all about Sun, so Chelm should do his homework better. All this carping aside, this series is still better than a lot of Marvel stuff from the same period, including all of the new monster comics (yes, including MAN-THING) and the complaining just makes it more fun. 

Comments: Part one of two parts. Taj’s final appearance in this title; his final bow will be in NIGHTSTALKERS #17-18. Blade’s story can be seen in his own series in VAMPIRE TALES; in issue #37, editor Len Wein apologizes as VAMPIRE TALES had been cancelled by this time and the Blade story was moved to MARVEL PREVIEW.  First appearance of Daphne von Wilkinson, whose final appearance will be next issue. According to GCD, cover penciller is either Ed Hannigan or Gene Colan.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tomb of Dracula #34 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

In Brazil, Frank Drake finds himself under attack by a horde of zuvembie (see issue #32) which drive him toward the edge of a cliff. Suddenly, Brother Voodoo arrives and, as the monsters hurl Frank over the edge, dispatches his loa to possess Frank and see that he lands safely on the ground….

In London, Inspector Chelm observes Dracula’s Parliamentarian slave deliver the stolen file to his master who learns that Doctor Sun is his unseen enemy. Chelm leaps out of hiding and fires a silver bullet at Dracula, who, having head Chelm coming, easily pulls his servant in front of him as a shield. Other police reveal themselves and open fire on Dracula but he changes to his mist form and flies off, unaware he is being watched by another unseen enemy, Deacon Frost….

In India, his son dead, Taj Nital has reunited with his wife and, on her advice, writes to Rachel van Helsing that he will not be returning to aid her in her mission….

At Scotland Yard, Quincy Harker meets with Inspector Chelm and police psychiatrist Dr. Scott to puzzle out Dracula’s next moves. They think that after Dracula’s brush with death in issue #14, he became afraid of dying. Rachel van Helsing arrives and agrees, adding that the Count began losing his powers after his encounter with Doctor Sun (issue #21) and Chelm agrees to check on Sun. Chelm also informs Quincy that Blade is wanted for murder….

At her fashion house, designer Daphne von Wilkinson berates her male employee for his inferior work and threatens him with termination if he doesn’t shape up. She broods about how her mother was always dominated by her autocratic father and she has devoted herself to gaining power and respect in her male-dominated industry. Her banker Jackson Hardy arrives to remind her that the payments on her loans are late and an examination of her records show that her own poor decisions led to her financial situation, mainly her penchant for hiring women regardless of their qualifications. Hardy informs her that he will get a court order for her eviction the next day. Then a hungering Dracula crashes through her window and, weak, he agrees to grant her a favor in exchange for blood. Daphne calls for Jackson Hardy to return and makes a clumsy effort to seduce him into extending the loan; he sees through her transparent attempts and rebuffs her so she calls in Dracula to kill him and feast on his blood, with a reminder that he will carry out her revenge….

Gene Colan
Tom Palmer
Tom Palmer
? (Cover Penciler)
Tom Palmer (Cover Inker)
Tom Palmer (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: John Costanza.


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