November 10, 2012

Ye Olde School Café: X-Men Annual #6

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Written by: Billy
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Hello and welcome to another week in Ye Olde School Café! This week, we’ll be checking out a classic X-Men story that’s one of my favorites! Why, you ask? Because it’s X-Men versus Dracula, as it appeared in X-Men Annual #6 (1982)! This story came during the epic run by Chris Claremont back in the early 80s, and it was really cool to see the X-Men go up against a villain of this caliber and power set. Let’s dive right into the tale now!

The story begins with none other than vampire hunter Rachel Van Helsing. She’s teaching at a local college, but is ready to head out for the day. She eventually gets home, but is startled, then whirls around to see her ultimate nemesis, Dracula! Over in Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, Kitty is having a meltdown due to her parents’ divorce. Storm and the others try to comfort her, but she’s too upset. She runs to her room and sobs, but as she does, a shadow passes over her, and she doesn’t even notice. During the night, Storm comes into her room, and Kitty starts to speak, but Storm grabs her and reveals a set of fangs. She bites Kitty, then proceeds to enter the rooms of all her teammates, and bite them, as well. She then turns into a bat-like form, and flies off into the night. She is then greeted by Dracula, and they embrace and share a kiss.

In the next scene, Storm awakens as if she’s had a nightmare, but checks on Kitty, and she seems fine. Storm then feels as if she’s being summoned by someone, and she flies away to heed that calling. Kitty arises and watches Storm fly away, heads over to the room of Colossus, and “persuades” him to help out in finding Storm. Speaking of Storm, she finds her way to a castle near the coastline where Dracula has taken up residence. As she arrives, she is greeted by a now vampirized Rachel Van Helsing. She attempts to show no fear, but when Dracula appears, she’s very frightened. She then is told by the Prince of Darkness that she will fetch a book (The Darkhold, or a copy of it) for him, and she then demands that in return, the X-Men and no one else will be harmed. He agrees halfheartedly, and she then enters the home. Kitty is waiting for her, though, and shoots her with a crossbow. It doesn’t kill her, and Storm retaliates with a gust of wind that knocks Kitty out of the room. Colossus then enters the fray, but he is also blasted right through a wall for his trouble. Kitty then obtains the book first, but then the guards of the castle come and begin firing on Storm. She jumps out of a window, but then Dracula rescues her.

Later, Storm awakens from a nightmare where she relives a tragedy from her youth. She is then startled by Dracula, who initially shows her compassion, but seconds later is slapping her around for her disobedience. As he prepares to bite her, he gets toasted by Cyclops’s optic blast. Dracula throws a spear that was nearby right at Cyclops, but Nightcrawler intercepts it, and plunges it into Dracula’s chest. Rachel pulls it out quickly, though, and the fracas is on. Dracula disappears, and Rachel is on the attack. Cyke blasts her away, and the rest of the team finds a very disoriented Storm. They go after Dracula, and then they find out why he’s been alive for hundreds of years. He tosses Colossus around like a rag doll, and when Wolverine gives it a shot, he gets manhandled and bitten for his trouble. Dracula then commands him to attack his teammates. He does, but then Kitty begins to read the pages of the book that contain the Montesi Formula (a powerful spell that can kill all vampires). Nightcrawler stops her, because he thinks it will kill Storm, and then a revelation occurs. Kitty has been possessed by Lilith, the daughter of Dracula! She’s sworn to kill her father for his crimes against her. Dracula smacks her down, too, but then is hit with that same spear he used earlier, and it hits him right in the heart. Rachel has regained some of her faculties and finally slayed the beast she’s been chasing her entire life.

Afterwards, the entire castle slides into the ocean, taking Dracula’s corpse with it. Rachel then begs the X-Men to kill her quickly with a stake through the heart, and although Storm seems moderately willing, Wolverine does the deed without even blinking twice. He does show some kindness, and holds her while the sun comes up and disintegrates her body. Lilith then relinquishes her hold on Kitty, and vanishes into thin air. The team then contemplates what just happened, and then Wolverine remarks that he’s glad it’s over. Storm replies…”Is it?”

Well, that’s it for now, and I hope you enjoyed this look into the past of the X-Men as much as I did! Be back here next week for more exciting adventures in the world of classic comics!

Billy Dunleavy



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