TOMB OF DRACULA ISSUE NUMBER TWENTY SIX
Cover Date: Nov. 1974
Artists: Gene Colan & Tom Palmer
Colorist: Tom Palmer
Editor: Roy Thomas
MAIN CHARACTERS: Dracula, David Eshcol, Sheila Whittier
SYNOPSIS: At a pawn shop, a father and son (Joshua and David Eshcol) look over a mysterious statue shaped like a mythological beast. The father tells his son that he has searched for the three parts that make up the object. He tells his son that the object is powerful and can be used or misused, depending on its wielder. Before he can use it, a smoke bomb is hurled into his pawn shop and he is killed by a group of unknown men. However they do not get all three pieces as the man's son manages to hold on to one piece.
In India, Taj is greeted by his old friend Ramon. Ramon tells him that he must return to his wife's side before their son dies. Taj strikes his friend in anger but soon realizes that he is right. He helps his friend to his feet, knowing what he must do.
Back in London, Dracula is attacked by a mob led by a man whose female friend Dracula has killed. The mob goes after Dracula until Dracula uses his hypnotic power to turn the mob upon each other. Delayed by the mob, Dracula returns to his original task- discovering whether or not Joshua Eshcol has acquired the chimera as his informants believe. Dracula goes to the Eshcol's shop only to discover it in ruins. Before he can investigate further, a London policeman sends him on his way.
Still upset over his father's death, David Eshcol bumps into Shelia Whittier, Dracula's female friend. She convinces Eshcol that his father met with her to discuss the chimera. Eshcol tells him what he knows, unaware that she is working for Dracula.
Meanwhile, Frank Drake is trying to find his place in the world, now that he has left Quincy Harker's band of vampire hunters. He runs into a beautiful woman named Chastity Jones who takes him back to her apartment. Drake soon discovers that she works for Drake's old friend Danny Summers. Summers has recruited Jones to find Drake and offer him employment as head of the Brazilian division of Summers Inc. Drake accepts and embarks for Brazil, but not without first embarking on a romantic interlude with Miss Jones.
Ignorant about much of the Chimera's origin, David Eshcol takes Sheila to consult with Lydia, an old woman supposedly knowledgable about the Chimera. She tells David that the Chimera was crafted twenty thousand years ago in ancient Atlantis. The Chimera has appeared throughout history, spreading death and madness wherever it was found. Then it disappeared in the Middle Ages, only to reappear recently. Lydia tells David and Sheila that the chimera can guide a world or detsroy one. She tells David that only a person who is sure of themself can use it.
While Sheila and David learn of the Chimera, Dracula tracks down two of the three pieces to a mansion where his informants have told him he can find it. He enters the mansion only to find himself trapped behind steel doors. A mysterious voice invites Dracula into the mansion where it tells him he must die for seeking the power of the Chimera. More steel doors trap Dracula and suddenly a panel in the ceiling slides open as holy water begins pouring in. Dracula realizes that the room will fill with the holy water and soon he will be dead.
NOTES: This is part one of a three part story involving the Chimera, a powerful magical artifact capable of transforming its wielder's thoughts into reality (a device similar to the Cosmic Cube). This is a great Dracula story that does not feature the Drac Pack (except in sub-plots) but instead focuses on a new character David Eshcol. One of the clever devices in this story is the use of quotes from the Book of Proverbs throughout the story.
The other party seeking the Chimera is Dracula's arch-rival, Dr. Sun (this is not revealed until several issues later). Dr. Sun seeks the Chimera for its power just as Dracula does.
Here we learn that Dracula can be detected by infra-red cameras, (presumably from the warm blood coursing through him after a kill).
The deathtrap at the end of this issue is an interesting one. This is the only issue I can recall in which Marv Wolfman placed Dracula in a superheroish situation. With that in mind, it is a nice change of pace.