TOMB  OF DRACULA ISSUE NUMBER SEVENTY

"LORDS OF THE UNDEAD!"

Cover Date: aUGUST 1979

Writer/Editor: Marv Wolfman

Illustrators: Gene Colan & Tom Palmer

Colorist: Michele W.

Letterer: John Costanza

Consulting Editor: Jim Shooter

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Main Characters: Dracula, , Quincy Harker. Rachel Van Helsing, Frank Drake, Harold H. Harold,& Blade.

Synopsis:: Abandoned by his own kind, Dracula flies after a swarm of vampires, eager to destroy them.  Wielding a cross, Dracula keeps them at bay as he confronts them.  He demands to see their master, Torgo, and he is rebuked, even by Karla, his most loyal handmaiden.  Karla tells Dracula that once she loved him and worshipped him as a god until he betrayed his own kind by marrying the human Domini.  Dracula then begins battling the vampires in a cemetary until their master rises from the ground.  From a distance, the being known as Janus watches Dracula's struggle.  He is the one who allowed Dracula to hold the cross without being repelled or harmed.  

He introduces himself as Torgo and tells Dracula that he has kept his presence from Dracula, knowing that there would be a great battle the day they met.  Dracula tells Torgo that he is his master but when Torgo orders him to bow, Dracula finds himself compelled to bow.  Torgo tells him that when Dracula was briefly transformed into a human, he became Lord of the Vampieres. Torgo toys with Dracula, telling him that he is his master now.  However Dracula challenges Torgo by the ancient rites to battle for leadership over all vampires.  

Elsewhere in Transylvania, Harker and his band observe all Dracula is battling his fellow vampires.  Harker notes that the time is ripe to kill Dracula.  He asks for Frank Drake's help with a special invention.

Back in the cemetary, Torgo and Dracula face each other.  As they prepare for battle, Torgo explains how he was a commoner who helped his people battle Attila the Hun.  When he was near death, an old hag came and transformed him into a vampire.  Torgo tells Dracula that he is older and wiser, and ready to lead vampires into open war with humanity.  Under his leadership, humans will be nothing more than cattle for all vampires.  Dracula tells Torgo that his plan is doomed to fail but he is too foolish to realize that.  Then, the two are roped toegether, each armed with a wooden stake.

The battle begins and soon both vampires lose their stakes as they claw and wrestle each other. However Torgo pulls out a knife, a clear violation of rules. The two battle fiercely as Dracula tells Torgo he is a peasant while he is Dracula, a proud man who will defend his name to the death.  After a pitched battle, Dracula takes Torgo's knife and drives it into his heart, killing him. Now King of the Vampires, Dracula is swarmed by his once rebellious kin.  They welcome him back and tell him they were always on his side.  Dracula dismisses them all and returns to his castle, telling them that he will deal with them later.  

A storm rages as Dracula muses over his future.  He is Lord of the Vampires  once more, but he wonders if he is lord over nothing more than scum and filth. Deep in thought, he does not realize that his old foe Quincy Harker has entered his home.  Dracula tells Harker that the two of them are much alike but Harker rebukes him.  Harker tells Dracula that he once thought the two alike but he now knows that they are worlds apart.  He tells Dracula that he is a murderer, spreading death and evil.  Dracula asks everything while Harker asks nothing of others.  Then to Dracula's surprise, Harker rises from his wheelchair. Harker is old and near death, he tells Dracula, but with his last breath he will kill Dracula and avenge his fallen wife and daughter.  He presses a button on his wheelchair and tells Dracula he has thirty seconds left to live.   Brandishing a silver spoke from his wheelchair, Harker falls atop Dracula, despite the excruciating pain to his legs, and drives it into Dracula's heart killing him.  Then he lifts a knife, preparing to sever the vampire's head so it can be stuffed with garlic, bringing the ultimate end to the vampire lord's undead existence.  Harker looks up to the heavens and tells his dead wife and daughter that this is for them.  However before he can bring the knife down, Dracula's castle explodes, bringing down over a hundred tons of stone on them.  Harker's wheelchair was boobytrapped to explode in the event he did not kill Dracula.

Back in Transylvania, Frank Drake and Rachel Van Helsing hear the explosion and rush to see what had happened.  They discover Castle Dracula in ruins and what remains of Quincy Harker's wheelchair.  They know that Dracula and Quincy are dead.  Several days later, Frank and Rachel wonder what they will do next.  Rachel tells Frank that although she has known Harker since her parents' death,  she cannot bring herself to cry.  Frank attempts to comfort her but is rebuffed.  However, Rachel receives a letter from Quincy Harker, written shortly before his death.  In the letter, Harker tells her not to allow her heart to turn to stone as he did after countless battles with Dracula.  Enheartened by his letter, Rachel embraces Frank Drake and agrees to give themselves a chance.  Elsewhere, Domini reflects on the loss of her husband Dracula.  Janus shows up and tells Domini that it is time for her son to return to her.  The supernatural presence in Janus returns to his home, leaving Domini with her infant son.  

NOTES: This double sized comic is the last issue of the TOD color comic.  Tomb of Dracula was originally slated to end with issue #72 but a planning snafu resulted in the title being cancelled before planned.  This resulted in three issues worth of material being fit into issue # 70. The story flows fairly smoothly for a condensed version.

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