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December 4, 2010

Ye Olde School Cafe’: Essential Tomb of Dracula vol. 1 pt 9

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Written by: Billy
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Hello everybody, and welcome to another week of screams, chills, and thrills, right here in Ye Olde School Café! This week, I’ll be continuing my romp through the Essential Tomb of Dracula volume 1. This series was undeniably great for all the horror fans of its time, and also for generations to come. Not to sound cliché, but it really does stand the test of time. Last week when we left off, Dracula was reminiscing about some of his past defeats and victories throughout the years. I think he was actually catching his breath from all the flying around terrorizing people, personally! In these next few issues, we see Dracula experiencing some things that make even him pause for a moment, and that’s saying something considering he’s lived for five hundred years or so.

In the next issue, we see a woman being attacked by a living skeleton! For reasons unknown, this bony dude kills the chick, then forces his way into a safe. He steals something but is then immediately confronted by the man of the house, James Jackson. Inspector Chelm and the boys from Scotland Yard show up and investigate the foul crime. The man, James, is waking up from being knocked out by the sinister being. The man is awake enough though to tell the inspector about the walking skeleton that he saw do this.

Meanwhile, Dracula is prowling around some rooftops looking for his dinner. He sees two dudes walking around in the night fog, and seeks to drain them of blood. Before he can, though, that same skeleton comes out of nowhere and kills both men. Dracula is infuriated by this and flies down to kill his competition. After dispatching the two men, the being disintegrates right before Dracula’s very own eyes. Dracula vows revenge against the monster, and then sends one of his human slaves to clean up the mess so the police don’t get on his trail. Inspector Chelm is suspicious and calls Quincy Harker to keep him in the loop about recent activities. As Inspector Chelm is on the phone with Harker, a brawl breaks out downtown with, you guessed it, the skeleton man. A mob is trying to subdue him, but it isn’t working, for they don’t even understand the forces they are dealing with. A certain bat is flying by the crowd and notices the creature, so he swoops down and attempts to attack the walking corpse. Dracula immediately gets tossed right through a plate glass window for his trouble, and then the creature disappears into the night.

We then see a quick interlude into the secret life of another that wants to see Dracula dead. Dr. Sun is a strange and mysterious person that has many people enthralled to do his bidding. One is Mister Chen, who is a scientist that has changed a man into a vampire, and also a slave to Dr. Sun. Just as that is unfolding, Dracula’s search has led him back to the graveyard where he first saw this abomination. He checks a casket that has been unearthed and surprisingly finds him in it. The creature grabs Dracula, but when he fights back, the creature turns into dust. Back at Scotland Yard, Inspector Chelm has also figured out who the mysterious assailant is and is plotting to stop him. As the police head out, Dracula has found his way to the residence of the former man, and he finds the corpse resting there. Just before that though, the creature attacks Chelm and his sidekick for fun, and Dracula then remembers this man approaching him years earlier to join him and his mystical group. Dracula then has an all out brawl with the creature that shows Dracula giving the creature a karate chop and lopping off the skull! Eventually Dracula subdues the creature, but not without a ton of effort. Inspector Chelm shows up and tells Dracula to not bury the corpse or it will just rise again. Dracula agrees, then takes off in bat form carrying the corpse into the night fog.

In the following issue, we see Dracula going to one of his many resting places around the globe. This one, in France, not only has a coffin, but also a visitor waiting to surprise the count. It’s Blade, and he jumps Dracula trying to get the upper hand. Dracula has been waiting for a rematch with Blade since their last encounter and pulls no punches. He thrashes Blade and then for good measure bites him, too! We then see Blade slumped over and apparently dead. Dracula ponders his next move and decides to go to the train yard and hop aboard a train headed for Transylvania. Coincidentally, Dr. Sun’s minions, Frank Drake, and Rachel van Helsing are also on this very train tonight.

We next look in on Frank and Rachel as they discuss their next move against Dracula. Sun’s lackeys are transporting a suitcase with unknown contents and are also eavesdropping on Frank and Rachel’s conversation. They learn that these are the pursuers of Dracula and they are going to try and use it to their advantage. As Frank and Rachel scan the crowd, we see the face of a youth that appears to be lost in thought. The youth’s name is Jack Russell, and he is bound for the same region as Dracula for reasons we’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime, Dr. Sun is testing the abilities of his new vampire assassin back at his complex. He appears to be everything Dr. Sun wanted and more, as far as his abilities to kill, anyway.

Back on the train, Dracula is startled by a young boy that is “shooting” him with a toy gun. Dracula almost attacks the boy out of sheer surprise, but then the boy’s mother intervenes. She scolds her son for leaving their cabin and then Dracula tells her that he’ll gladly walk her back to her cabin. He does, then shortly after a scream echoes out and Frank and Rachel jump out of their seats in terror. As Frank and Rachel search for Dracula, so does one of Dr. Sun’s goons. He finds Dracula in the stateroom and tries to shoot him. Yeah, bad idea, because bullets don’t affect the Lord of Vampires! Dracula tosses the Frenchman aside, then throws him through a window and off of the train. This brings Frank and Rachel running into the room to confront him as well. Dracula tries to fly away as a bat, but Frank manages to slash one of his wings with a knife. This forces Dracula to change back into a man and fight. Dracula easily beats down Drake and then slaps Rachel aside as he moves out of the room.

On the other side of the train, Dr. Sun’s other goon is holding a briefcase tightly, and thinking his buddy might be dead. In virtually no time at all, Dracula has made his way to the same area of the train. Dracula then runs right into the man and the two are both perplexed by the other’s reasons for killing. Dracula tells the man he is going to die, but the man thinks Dracula is after the documents in the briefcase. Dracula laughs at the man and moves forward to kill him. The man then tells Dracula he’ll die before he gives up the case, and then jumps out of a window to his death. Before Dracula can even try to understand the man’s actions, Rachel bursts into the room with her trusty crossbow and fires at Dracula. The arrow goes right through the mist that Dracula has turned into, and being close enough to his castle, he flees. Outside where the dead body of the man is lying, we see an unknown person taking the briefcase and informing his master that the contents are still there. He is another of Dr. Sun’s army of loyalists that will do anything, even die, to see Dr. Sun’s plans to fruition.

That’s all for this week, but come back next week as Dracula will come face to face with another beast that will challenge him – a beast named Werewolf by Night!

Billy Dunleavy
billy@comicattack.net

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