TOMB OF DRACULA ISSUE NUMBER THIRTY ONE

"TEN LORDS A DYING!"

Cover Date: April 1975

Writer: Marv Wolfman

Artist: Gene Colan & Tom Palmer

Colorist: Tom Palmer

Letterer: Ray Holloway

Editor: Len Wein

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Main Characters: Dracula, Frank Drake, Quincy Harker, Rachel Van Helsing, Taj, Saint, Inspector Chelm

Synopsis::  Mary Beth-Singleton, the 19 year old daughter of Lord Singleton (a high ranking member of the House of Lords)  is murdered by Dracula.  When Inspector Chelm's investigation reveals that it was a vampire attack, Quincy Harker is notified.  Chelm and Harker review the evidence of several vampire attacks and they conclude that Dracula must be alive.

In India, Taj's wife tells him that he must be the one to kill their son.  A mob of angry villagers arrrive and tell Taj that his son must be killed.  They tell how they tried to let him remain alive but that recently, their animals have been killed and their blood drained.  For the safety of the village, Taj's son must die.

In Brazil, Danny Summers tells Frank Drake that he needs him to get local workers motivated so that his work for the government is completed on time.  He tells Drake that he is not a loser and that this is his chance to prove that.  Summers tells Drake that he may have wasted his time with Rachel Van Helsing but that that is all in the past.  As Summers leaves, Drake wonders how Summers knew about Rachel and her notions of hunting vampires.

In her London apartment, Rachel Van Helsing relaxes with a book.  We see a bat near the window.  The text then says that Rachel goes to check a drafty window but never makes it.

Meanwhile, Dracula is ready to slay Lord Singleton for failing to heed his commands.  Dracula controls several high ranking members of the House of Lords and Singleton must be slain in order to send a warning to others who might question him.  Dracula sends hypnotized Parliament members after Singleton but Inspector Chelm and two bobbies arrive to save him.  After the attack, Singleton realizes that vampires are real.  Chelm and his men leave and shortly thereafter, Dracula shows up to confront Singleton.  He tells Singleton that he must die for interfering with his plans in Parliament.  Singleton replies that he has no means with which to stop Dracula but he shows Dracula information that tells how Dracula is going to die.  Dracula demands that Singleton reveal the source of the information but he refuses.  Dracula then attempts to hypnotize Singleton but Singleton resists using methods taught to him by Quincy Harker.  Enraged, Dracula prepares to turn Singleton only to be stopped by Inspector Chelm and two bobbies.  Chelm tells Dracula that he has studied his methods and suspected he would return.  Dracula goes after Chelm but is stopped when a bobbie fires a silver bullet into his arm.  Dracula dispatches of the two policemen and turns to see Chelm ready to shoot him.  However when Quincy Harker implores Chelm to kill Dracula, Chelm is momentarily distracted, allowing Dracula to escape. Dracula will get the information he seeks from Quincy Harker.

NOTES: In this issue, Quincy Harker finally learns that Dracula is alive and that he survived the explosion in Dr Sun's headquarters.  Unfortunately for Rachel Van Helsing, it is too late.

This issue gives us a good look at how effective Inspector Chelm is at vampire hunting.  He is knowledgable enough about Dracula's tactics to lay a trap for him, and his use of silver bullets makes him a formidable foe.  It's a shame that Chelm wasn't used more often in TOD but Marv Wolfman obviously wanted to keep him as a supporting character.  

Dracula's plans to control the House of Lords is interesting.  As we see in later issues, Dracula's plans for world domination are not to transform mankind into vampires, but to manipulate people in high seats of power in order to have his way.  

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